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Guitar Center Cranks Up Planning Performance with Clarity Systems

Toronto, June 22, 2005 – Clarity Systems, a world leader in business intelligence (BI) and corporate performance management (CPM), announced today that Guitar Center, Inc. (Nasdaq:GTRC), America’s leading retailer of musical instruments and equipment, has improved its budgeting and reporting capabilities with Clarity Performance Management.

“Guitar Center chose Clarity Performance Management because it was easy to use, had an Excel-like interface, was Web-based and had the functionality to make managers more accountable to their budgets,” says Pia Washington, manager, Financial Analysis & Budgeting, Guitar Center. “Historically, Guitar Center had a centralized planning system that was owned and operated by Finance. It was a top-down approach that involved creating spending plans in spreadsheets and rolling them out to corporate departments. The planning was focused on the P&L budget, occurred annually and primarily involved Finance.”

Guitar Center realized it needed a better planning approach to reduce the large amounts of manual entries into Excel spreadsheets which led to a lengthy budget cycle and optimized too much time from key people. Financial analysts were preoccupied with preparing, maintaining and consolidating spreadsheets and the limited detail in centralized planning discouraged analysis of expenditures. Guitar Center wanted to eliminate these issues while giving department managers ownership and commitment to their numbers.

“At the rate we continue to grow our business, I think that time management is a big piece. Users are all familiar with the system; we’re over the learning curve,” says Washington. “I see continued value added in the reduction in time that we spend sending out instructions and manually manipulating things. Clarity Performance Management will become a well-oiled machine that does 90 per cent of the work once we've completed the design.”

“Clarity’s solution provides Guitar Center with clear, detailed views of their financial performance, enabling them to better set and meet goals,” says Mark Nashman, president, Clarity Systems. “Because CPM has enabled Guitar Center to decentralize its budget function as well as departmental financial tracking, the company’s financial personnel are gaining the time they need to conduct valuable financial analysis and forecasting.”

Guitar Center’s future plans include broadening its use of Clarity Performance Management. They plan to implement the capital expenditure and salary budgeting pieces of the application, saving the finance department many hours of preparation.

About Guitar Center
Guitar Center is the nation's leading retailer of guitars, amplifiers, percussion instruments, keyboards and pro-audio and recording equipment. We presently operate 148 Guitar Center stores, with 120 stores in 48 major markets and 28 stores in secondary markets across the U.S. In addition, the Music &Arts division operates 77 locations specializing in band instruments for sale and rental, serving thousands of teachers, band directors, college professors and students. Guitar Center is also the largest direct response retailer of musical instruments in the U.S. through our wholly owned subsidiary, Musician's Friend, Inc., and its catalog and Web site, More information on Guitar Center can be found by visiting the Company's Web site at

About Clarity Systems
Clarity Systems ( delivers Corporate Performance Management software solutions for financial budgeting, planning, reporting, consolidation and analytics. Clarity Systems’ real-time, Web-based solutions enable improved corporate accountability and financial performance across the organization. Clarity Performance Management, the firm’s flagship product, is a single integrated application that offers the flexibility, security and control needed to meet compliance requirements and make more informed business decisions. Clarity Systems customers include large and medium sized global companies such as Adelphia Communications, Alcon, Victoria’s Secret and Wells Fargo. The firm can be reached at 1.877.410.5070.

Source : Clarity Systems

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