The Impact of 2009 on Independent Retailers
This year also shattered the notion that the luxury class of consumers was recession proof. "We've seen a bit more demand-destruction at the top end of the market," Workman said. "The luxury segment has taken it on the chin a little harder than the mainstream."
Flat Panels & the Digital Transition
The drop in ASPs was even worse in 2009 that it had been in the past. Inventory issues throughout the year also drove dealers crazy. But it was more than pricing that fueled the TV roller-coaster ride. "First, we were having a hard time getting TVs, and then when we got them we were selling them at ridiculously low prices," said Eddie Maloney, president of Cowboy Maloney's Electric City in Jackson, Miss.
Reductions in flat-panel pricing over the past year have also hurt comp store increases for many dealers. "The good old days of retailing, where you could expect a three-percent inflationary number to help you make comps, haven't been around for a long time," said Boscov's Krieger.
But one positive for future TV sales, strangely enough, was the better-than-expected sales of DTV converter boxes. "Estimates were for 12 million to 15 million, but 40 million were sold," Workman said. "That's somewhat of a blessing in disguise because they're a placeholder for future HDTV purchases. How far down will it affect TV sales? It depends on general consumer sentiment. The upsides will come when the consumer is a lot more confident about spending."