Founder of Ricardo Eletro becomes ‘coach’ after leaving business on the verge of bankruptcy – Pequenas Empresas Grandes Negócios

Last month, more than 6 thousand people were waiting for the beginning of the event “Explosão de Vendas”, which would be conducted on YouTube by Ricardo Nunes, 52 years old, founder of Máquina de Vendas, the owner of Ricardo Eletro – retailer that today dribbles repeated bankruptcy filings. With an enthusiastic audience in the chat, the three-day course in a hybrid model began with him saying that his objective was to use the best of his experience in 30 years of work to “build the second largest company of retail this country.” According to sources, the new business of courses and mentoring has been guaranteeing good money to the entrepreneur. Sought by the report several times, Nunes did not give an interview.

Ricardo Nunes, founder of Ricardo Eletro, offers courses on management (Photo: Reproduction/Instagram)

Ricardo Nunes, founder of Ricardo Eletro, during one of his courses (Photo: Reproduction/Instagram)

With 182,000 followers on Instagram, the social network he also uses to sell his courses, the businessman was denounced in June on suspicion of evasion of around R$86 million. Nunes has also been the target of allegations of money laundering and has even been arrested. “He lives in Jardins, leads a luxurious life and is posting photos on a private plane. Meanwhile, he lies about what he did at the company. If he is now a billionaire, he took that money from somewhere”, says another source linked to Ricardo Eletro. .

In the course, the entrepreneur praises the retailer he built, which employed 40 thousand people and earned more than R$ 10 billion a year, fighting with the big ones in the sector, such as Magazine Luiza and Casas Bahia. In judicial recovery since 2020, the network today tries to dribble a series of bankruptcy requests, pulled by the banks Itaú, Bradesco and Santander. All the company’s physical stores were closed. With a new owner, the business tries to reinvent itself as an e-commerce.

catchphrases

The newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo followed the “live” by Nunes on July 18, which was especially attended by small retailers in the interior of the country. Early on, he said he wanted to teach listeners how to stand up to the competition and cash in. Negative messages that were posted in the YouTube comment box, including those from former employees, were deleted within seconds. “You pay my rights, I didn’t even get unemployment insurance for your irregularities,” wrote a spectator, who did not identify himself.

“He is charismatic, messianic. He cries, sweats. He has a gift for selling, a great ability to involve people”, says an executive who had close contact with Nunes at the time of the Sales Machine. The executive recalls that the company grew very quickly, with acquisitions, but considers that there was a lack of planning. “In less than ten years, he went from zero to the top, and back to zero”, says the executive, who requested anonymity.

Debts grew rapidly and, despite audits pointing to irregularities in finances, Nunes would have omitted until the last minute the dimension of tax and labor debts, according to sources with access to the founder’s succession process. The need for intensive capital is one of the characteristics of the retail electronics sector.

The sales cycle is long and needs credit. Gradually, the sources say, the businessman stopped paying creditors. Always very concerned with marketing, products and sales strategy, Nunes used to get up from the table if the subject was accounts and corporate governance.

Lifestyle

In one of the lawsuits filed against Máquina de Vendas, the banks highlighted a trip he took with his family in which he would have stayed in a luxury hotel, with a daily rate of R$ 5,100, for six days. However, creditors do not find Nunes’ assets subject to seizure.Without physical stores and with a team of 30 people, the e-commerce is currently betting on the sale of third-party products and sustains an estimated monthly turnover of R$600,000. Nunes sold the company in 2019, when it was already sinking into debt.

Now, as a “coach”, instead of convincing consumers to buy electronics, he dedicates his time to sharing lessons learned in his career, at a cost of up to R$ 10 thousand for the teachings, although he offers part of the content for free on the internet. Nunes adopts an aggressive engagement strategy, with WhatsApp groups, calls via robots and lots of SMS.

Historic

Nunes’ story as an entrepreneur began early, in Divinópolis (MG). In the early 1980s, he sold gossip from his family’s farm outside a college to supplement his income. His father had died two years earlier, in 1979, leaving a jewelry store as an inheritance. But after a robbery that left family members injured, his mother sold the business.

The gossip business evolved into a stall in front of the college and, shortly after, Nunes started going to Rua 25 de Março, in São Paulo, to buy fashion products and resell them in his city. That’s when Ricardo Eletro was born, when he was 18 years old. Officially, the company was founded two years later, in 1989, when it started to gain scale.

Growth was strong in the 2000s, when the network sponsored open TV programs to become known nationally. In 1999, the retailer began its expansion in Belo Horizonte and, in 2002, arrived in Espírito Santo. Another important milestone was the arrival at e-commerce, in 2009, with 80 thousand products for sale.

The following year, the company joined the competitor Insinuante, a business that gave rise to the Sales Machine. The group became the second largest retailer of electronics, behind Grupo Pão de Açúcar, which had Casas Bahia, Ponto Frio and Extra (GPA later left the segment). At its peak, in 2014, Ricardo Eletro had 1,200 stores. The tide turned in 2015, with Nunes facing the first allegations of tax evasion. Three years later, the retailer started an extrajudicial recovery process.

In 2020, Nunes was arrested, accused of withholding R$387 million, and all physical stores were closed, in part because of the pandemic. The business went into judicial recovery and the businessman spent only one day in jail. It was at this time that businessman Pedro Bianchi – coming from Starboard, a company that invests in businesses in difficulty and that tried to help the retailer – took charge of Ricardo Eletro and a debt of R$ 6 billion. At the same time, Nunes started his new life as a sales coach.

Today, the Vending Machine is still in trouble: after a back-and-forth of injunctions, the court still hasn’t authorized the company to get out of bankruptcy status – which prevents it even from paying the salaries of current employees.

About Yadunandan Singh

Born in 1992, Yadunandan approaches the world of video games thanks to two sacred monsters like Diablo and above all Sonic, strictly in the Sega Saturn version. Ranging between consoles and PCs, he is particularly fond of platform titles and RPGs, not disdaining all other genres and moving in the constant search for the perfect balance between narration and interactivity.

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