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GROWTH
4.  T W E E T E R   H O M E
E N T E R T A I N M E N T   G R O U P

Chain makes itself heard among affluent customers

    Globe 100
Growth:
  1. Cytyc
  2. Polymedica Corp.
  3. Perini
  4. Tweeter
  5. Boston Private Financial

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Over the next few years, many consumers may buy high-definition TVs and other electronic products that use digital technology, and Tweeter aims to be ready.

Sure, consumers could go to Best Buy or Circuit City, but when complex, new, expensive items are involved, Tweeter is betting that many affluent customers will prefer a chain that stresses higher-end merchandise and a knowledgeable sales staff over a superstore that focuses just on low prices.

Looking to go national, Canton-based Tweeter has been on an acquisition spree, buying small regional consumer-electronics chains. In 2001, Tweeter bought Sound Advice Inc. The deal to buy the Florida-based chain is a big reason Tweeter's store count has grown to 161 from 90.

Of the recent acquisitions, chief executive Jeffrey S. Stone said, "Our challenge this year has been to integrate them all into the Tweeter family."

Acquisitions help explain Tweeter's explosive growth, with sales rising to $540.1 million last year, from about $400 million. But the terrorist attacks slowed profit growth, Tweeter said. In 2001, net income rose to $16.9 million from $16.45 million after a big jump the previous year.

With the acquisitions, Tweeter's long-term outlook remains strong. Sales this year are expected to exceed $800 million, Stone said. "As the digital cycle evolves and HDTV continues to gain acceptance with consumers," he said, "our position as sales leader in these new technologies has been strengthened."

CHRIS REIDY


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