Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

The Real Winner in Consumer Electronics

December 1, 2008

If you want to know who was the real retail winner amid all the Black Friday frenzy, just look in the mirror.

That’s the word from Jim Barry, a former editor of Video magazine, who is now a spokesman for the Consumer Electronics Association.

Barry said consumers found “really unbelievable” prices the day after Thanksgiving on some electronics items, such as 42-inch flat-panel TVs selling for $600 to $800.

But “for retailers and manufacturers, the question is was there any profit in any of this stuff?” he added.

Here’s more from a chat with him:

Q: Will electronics prices return to normal after Black Friday?

A: “You’re still going to find deals, especially on flat-panel TVs for which there seems to be an oversupply right now. There’s also this situation of a couple of companies (closing stores) … Some of that product may be at liquidators. Flat-panel TVs have been coming down in price, not withstanding Black Friday and will continue to come down. I would expect prices to continue to be terrific for consumers.”

Q: Will the February 2009 shift to digital signals spur holiday flat-panel TV sales?

A: “The transition has more people thinking about their TV … So in that sense, it can’t help but help (flat-panel sales). But I wouldn’t call it a major factor.”

Q: Where are people buying electronics?

A: “Everywhere. The specialty stores like Best Buy, there are other specialty stores like J&R in New York, regional stores. Then there’s Wal-Mart. Then people are buying online. Personally I don’t think Cyber Monday is as big a deal as it was a few years back partly because more people have high-speed Internet at home now.”

Q: Will rival store closures benefit Best Buy?

A: “It’s not necessarily great for Best Buy because you’ve got liquidators selling product. The only clear winner now is the consumer, who’s getting great deals.”



Its all about the 42″ minimum flatscreens, but its got to be high def


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