Baltimore-based Luskin's Inc. has bought George's Radio and Television Inc., the financially troubled Washington-Baltimore discount appliance chain that had been purchased last February by two New York retailers.
Luskin's, which bought the Dalmo appliance-store chain in 1974, tightened its hold in the Washington discount appliance market with the George's transaction, accomplished through a corporation set up for the acquisition. Company President Jack Luskin said that because the firm is privately held, he wouldn't disclose the purchase price.
"What has happened is that George's has been having some difficulty over the years," said Leonard Kolodny, manager of the Greater Washington Board of Trade retail bureau. "The former management, the top management people, got older, got out of the business or were forced to retire because of illness. With this turnover and a lot of uncertainties associated with the business, George's started losing a little of its significance in the marketplace."
The 15 stores in the chain will continue to operate under the George's name. "We think they're a very credible name," Luskin said. "The problem was management, not necessarily the company. It's a fine, fine company, well-received and well-known in the Washington area."
George's had sales of about $30 million last year, but Kolodny said sales had been slipping lately. Luskin said George's will remain in the appliance business, but that it will expand to include more electronics, calculators and audio equipment. George's customers' warranties will be honored, Luskin said.
Four more George's stores may be added and another may close, Luskin said, but he wouldn't disclose the location of the stores.
"These are very sharp, very good people," Kolodny said of the Luskin's officials. The Luskin's peo ple had said over the years that "if the price was right, they would buy George's or another discount store," Kolodny added.
In 1974 Luskin's made an unsuccessful bid to buy George's, but the two sides were too far apart in negotiations. The previous year, George's had canceled attempts to go public when the stock market turned down. George's had hoped to sell 300,000 common shares in an effort to raise up to $3.3 million to pay debts and finance expansion plans.
Several months after its bid for George's, Luskins bought the $7 million Dalmo appliance-store chain. Under that arrangement, Luskin's acquired seven stores in the Washington area and changed the names to Dalmo-Luskin's. They later became just Luskin's.
Last February, New York retailers Douglas and Lawrence Jemal bought the George's stores from the estate of the late George Wasserman, who founded the firm nearly 55 years ago. It was one of Washington's first mass merchandisers of appliances and related products.
Kolodny said the latest sale of George's should have no effect on the appliance market in the area. "All the furniture stores, catalogue stores, department stores sell all the things Luskin's sells.