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Best Buy Leads Dealerscope's Top 101 Retailers

Sales drop 7.69 percent among North America’s largest CE dealers

March 14, 2010 By Report compiled and written by Laura Spinale
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Best Buy has reclaimed the top spot in Dealerscope's annual ranking of the top 101 consumer electronics retailers in North America. Walmart placed second, followed by Dell, CDW and Staples, as the recession to continued to affect the industry's performance.

Click here (PDF link) for the complete rankings.

Consumers worried about losing their homes were reluctant to spend on a high-end flat screen. For the unemployed, paying for a fancy phone or sound system took a backseat to buying food.  

The overall impact of the recession on consumer confidence fueled the decline in sales among the retailers in Dealerscope’s annual registry of the top 101 CE retailers in the United States and Canada. The top 101 retailers rang up $184.86 billion in CE sales during 2009, a 7.69 percent drop from the $200.27 billion earned in 2008.

Circuit City’s demise also contributed to the dip. Compared to its $10.14 billion in CE sales for 2008, Circuit City sold only an estimated $1.42 billion in CE goods before closing shop in early 2009. Unfortunately, it seems that Circuit City customers failed to immediately start spending their cash at other chains. No. 1 ranked Best Buy saw only a .72 percent increase in CE sales, from $31.73 billion to $31.96 billion. No. 2 ranked Walmart stores in the United States fared slightly better, with a 2.09 increase in CE sales, to about $25.87 billion in 2009 from an estimated $25.34 billion in 2008. The recession, though, certainly didn’t prevent some retailers from making big moves.

hhgregg opened 20 new stores in 2009, and saw CE sales increase by 8.82 percent to about $740 million from an estimated $680 million. Ultimate Electronics and 6th Avenue Electronics are both entering new markets. Ultimate is expanding from its Midwestern/Western home base into New York State, with a new location in Syracuse’s Carousel Center mall. It will sit just a floor below an existing Best Buy. Ultimate also plans to open a store in Massachusetts. 6th Avenue Electronics has opened its first Pennsylvania store.
Walmart also launched its Project Impact store redesign and added installation services. The moves were clear attempts at trying to squash regional competition. Late last year, Microsoft jumped into the fray by opening its first retail stores.

Other retailers are retrenching. The former Ritz Camera emerged from bankruptcy this year as Ritz Camera & Image. It now has far fewer stores, but a revamped product mix that includes televisions, cell phones and computers. And, in an effort to improve profitability, Ken Crane’s has reduced its store count from 10 to 6, but has not exited any markets.
 

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