Retail Across the Pacfic
In Tokyo, electronics emporiums are more than places to pick up a discounted flat panel TV. They are destination stores, especially in the summer. And a recent summer weekend was no different, with hordes of sweltering city dwellers jamming the aisles of Japan’s mega electronics retailers to get cool.
What drew them? For one thing, a first-generation HD DVD promotional hard sell by Toshiba that included (at Yurakucho’s Bic Camera) mass distribution at the front door of free heat-beating paper fans with the HD DVD logo. And at the Akihabara district’s high-rise Yodobashi Camera, you couldn’t miss the ultimate merchandising treatment: in-your-face, live HD DVD demos featuring uniformed Toshiba personnel offering non-stop narratives as you stepped off the escalators. (For the record, we didn’t observe any Blu-ray promotions.)
Flat panels of the 1920x1080 variety were also in flower at Yodobashi’s Pioneer outpost, where the company’s pricey but impressive HD plasma was put through its paces, and at the Sharp Aquos area, where signage near the company’s HD LCD TV touted the opening of an earthquake-proof second plant at Kameyama in Japan’s southern Mie Prefecture that Sharp promises will help it keep up with burgeoning flat panel demand.