Re: dropped off a *long* time ago
Right now in the UK, the same thing is happening (has happened) with Maplin. They started off as a small component retailer / mail order shop in Essex, selling components and kits to electronics enthusiasts. Years ago, I designed a couple of kits for them, and they paid quite generous royalties per unit sold.
Electronics construction is not as popular as it once was, and so Maplin "diversified" into all sorts of cheap electronic tat - sold at premium prices - in the mistaken belief that this would get customers into their shops again. They still can't see where they've got it wrong, trying to be Tandy. They've lost their core customers.
Their component prices are incredible: They charge the same for four cheap ¼W resistors as I pay for 200 of the same value from the Far East! Their range of parts has been radically reduced, and they seldom have actual physical stock of parts in their shops despite their computer system always insisting that they have lots in stock.....
Dick Smith - sadly - went exactly the same way as Maplin. I don't expect the English company to last much longer - they've already shut about a third of their branches - they're selling the wrong things at the wrong prices. Maplin are certain to suffer the same fate as Dick Smith!