Shares of upscale consumer electronics retailer Ultimate Electronics (NASDAQ:ULTE) were hit for a loss of some 10% today following news that it would delay its earnings announcement. Originally planned for March 10, fiscal Q4 (ended Jan. 31) and full-year financial results will be delayed until April 8 because of "difficulties encountered with the company's new management information system."

We've talked on several occasions about the pressure that competing with the likes of Best Buy (NYSE:BBY), Circuit City (NYSE:CC), and even discounters like Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) puts on Ultimate, Tweeter (NASDAQ:TWTR), and other retailers that set high standards for quality and service. The addition of manufacturers/direct sellers like Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) and Gateway (NYSE:GTW) only raises the stakes. (For a recent look at Circuit City, check out Ben McClure's take from earlier this week.)

That pressure was further illustrated last month when Ultimate reported fiscal Q4 (ended Jan. 31) and full-year sales figures. Revenues rose only 1% despite the company finishing the year with eight more stores than it had the year before, as same-store sales fell 10%. And while inventory technically fell year over year, it actually rose nearly 10% -- much faster than sales -- if discontinued inventory is removed from both years' closing statements.

Ultimate says it's working on a number of initiatives it hopes will help top-to-bottom results down the road: It's looking to explore new sales channels, improve marketing and inventory management and, of course, reduce SG&A expense, among other things. Some of this had better take root. The company is losing money and burning cash. Investors are losing patience, as the shares are down from year-ago levels -- and off significantly from summer highs.

Discuss the outlook for Ultimate and the rest of the consumer electronics business on our Retail discussion board.

Fool contributor Dave Marino-Nachison doesn't own any of the companies in this story. He can be reached via email.