Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Can new systems get Best Buy back on its game?

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Check out the impending barrage of new video games. E3/

It is all about motion sensors and 3D as Nintendo, Microsoft and  Sony introduce new systems and devices to get more people  gaming.

Microsoft has a full-body motion-sensing system called Kinect. Nintendo has a new DS handheld device that can play games and show movies in 3D. Sony has the “Move,” which uses a wand like the Wii to simulate motion in games.

Which system will you buy? Don’t know? Sounds confusing?

That could be just the thing Best Buy needs to boost sales.

The largest U.S. electronics retailer posted worse-than-expected earnings amid sluggish sales and higher costs on Tuesday.

Some analysts are hoping that the new video games and 3D televisions could help lift Best Buy later this year.

Check Out Line: Duke wins, but there’s another bracket to fill

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duke1Check out a different kind of tournament bracket still underway.

The Duke Blue Devils may have won yet another college basketball title Monday night, but consumers can still make their “Sweet 16″ picks in Consumerist.com’s annual “Worst Company in America”  tournament, which runs through April 26.

In its fifth year, the website, owned by Consumers Union, the publisher of Consumer Reports, lets consumers vote for their least favorite companies in matchups much like the NCAA tournament. Starting with 32 “teams,” the tournament pairs companies in votes in which the “winner” (think about it, in a worst company vote you want to lose) advances to face the next competitor.

Check Out Line: Best Buy, Apple to sell iPads on Saturday

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bestbuyCheck out how the long wait for the iPad is nearing its end.

Best Buy and Apple’s own stores will begin selling the much-hyped iPad tablet computer on Saturday morning.

Apple said on Monday that versions of the device with Wi-Fi wireless Internet capabilities will be available in all 221 U.S. Apple retail stores and most Best Buy stores, for prices ranging from $499 to $699. Models using 3G wireless systems will hit stores in late April.

Check Out Line: A basket full of profits

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Check out today’s earnings-palooza.

Two retailers topped analysts’ expectations after a strong holiday-season showing, while ConAgra Foods was helped by a makeover of its consumer foods segment.

USA-HOLIDAYSALES/Best Buy’s better-than-expected profit was helped by demand for devices such as notebook computers.  The company’s 12 percent revenue jump came even as Walmart and other chains stepped up their electronics push for the holidays.  Of course, this was also the first winter that they didn’t have to compete against the brick and mortar Circuit City stores.

Check Out Line: Best Buy’s claims on market share gains

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bbyCheck out the holiday sales results from Best Buy.

The top U.S. consumer electronics chain said its December same-store sales rose 8.2 percent, recovering from last year’s 6.5 percent drop.

The company attributed the gains to strong demand for notebook computers and mobile phones, and said  it believes its domestic segment continued to “experience strong market share gains” for the month ended Nov. 30.

Check Out Line: Honey, OK if I buy this $300 gadget?

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money1Check out how the recession has redefined what “major purchase” means to American consumers.

Three times the number of consumers said “yes” compared with “no” when asked if they need to discuss a purchase of $250 to $300 with their spouse or partner to determine if they can afford it, according to a survey by BeemerReport.com. It was the first time “yes” topped “no” at that price level.

Black Friday: That time when retail CEOs don’t shop

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best-buyHow important is it for top executives to know what their customers think of the businesses that they run? Most agree that it helps, but on Black Friday, chief executives of two of the country’s most popular venues for frenzied, over-caffeinated shoppers said they don’t shop at their stores at that time of year.

We could think of plenty of good reasons not to hit the chaos scenes known as big-box retailers on Black Friday. For one thing, it’s crowded and you have to wait in line all day while you’re holding boxes of stuff. Add a couple of cranky toddlers, and you could envision hundreds of reasons to stay home.

Check Out Line: A Black Friday extravaganza!

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HOLIDAYSALES/Today’s a serious shopping day for serious shoppers.

Black Friday is no longer a sport for the leisurely shopper. From our late-night rounds, it became clear that people were lining up all over in the dead of night (and some earlier than that!) not just for the fun of it but out of necessity.

While many of the stoutest shoppers were grimly determined to get their deals and get out, there was some fun and holiday cheer.

from MediaFile:

Barnes & Noble plans big (e-reader?) event

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Brace yourself for the next salvo in the battle of the ebook readers (or electronic reading devices, or e-reader, or whatever you want to call them).

Barnes & Noble is planning a "major event" next Tuesday in New York to announce a mystery... something.

from MediaFile:

Best Buy CEO: Don’t forget the gift card

Hey Brian Dunn, CEO of gadget lover's cathedral top electronics retailer Best Buy, what's on your short list of five great bang-for-your-buck devices for this holiday season?
(Thanks to the CNN Money reporter for asking this question at a press conference today)

DUNN: My short list?

* (First), on my personal short list -- a netbook is definitely on my short list - and by the way it's a companion device. It's lightweight, it's small, it's great to take on a quick trip.
* (Second) I think the HD Instinct is a very interesting smartphone. [Mediafile: That's Samsung's Instinct HD]
* (Third) I love my Flip HD camcorder. That's a great piece.
* Four, I really love the Ultra Thin OLED TVs are cool. [Mediafile: Um, cool yes. Bang for Buck? At about $2,000 for an 11-inch screen, let's just leave it at cool and move on. mkay?]
* The fifth one, of course, is a gift card , that I can give to the people I love, so they can get whatever it is they want.

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