David Dritsas

David Dritsas
PULLING THE RUG ON PRICING

Pricing is a tricky issue for most retailers. No one wants to lose margins, but product discounts and sales are still one the best tried and true methods for getting people into the store. But this practice and other pricing strategies may be hindered by recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allows manufacturers to set minimum prices. The question that remains for consumer electronics retailers is: Is this really going to matter? The ruling was laid down on June 28 in review of “Leegin Creative Leather Products, In. v. PSKS, Inc., Kay’s Kloset, Kay’s shoes,” when the country’s highest court ruled five to four

Pulling the Rug on Pricing

Pricing is a tricky issue for most retailers. No one wants to lose margins, but product discounts and sales are still one the best tried and true methods for getting people into the store. But this practice and other pricing strategies may be hindered by a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allows manufacturers to set minimum prices. The question that remains for consumer electronics retailers is: Is this really going to matter? The ruling was laid down on June 28 in review of “Leegin Creative Leather Products, In. v. PSKS, Inc., Kay’s Kloset, Kay’s Shoes,” when the country’s highest court ruled five to

Theft Prevention

Richard Cubbage is on a mission to reduce retail theft. As a loss prevention analyst for the Army/Air Force Exchange Service, a huge retail operation with hundreds of locations globally and billions of dollars in revenue, his job is serious. A seemingly unending supply chain of inventory and a large infrastructure presents an attractive environment for wayward employees looking for foolproof ways to steal “under the radar”—or so they think. The National Retail Federation (NRF) recently awarded Cubbage for this work at the group’s Loss Prevention Conference, held in San Diego in June. The NRF recognized his work in a nearly year long investigation that

Haier Ground

If you’ve been following the NBA this year, you may have noticed a new name plastered everywhere: Haier. What does Haier have to do with basketball? Nothing, besides the millions of eyes that the company wants to catch in a grand campaign to establish itself as major U.S. appliance brand. Already successful in categories like air conditioning and compact refrigeration, this Chinese company has reason to believe that this is possible, and part of the plan is to grab a piece of the high-end market. If you ask Warren Mann, he’ll tell you that Fisher & Paykel first proved that even a little-known brand can

Back Office: Cyber Sellers

There was a time salespeople sold with a story and a smile. That was all they needed. People skills never go out of style. But if you walk into a Circuit City these days you might notice some of the floor staff armed with handheld devices, most notably Tablet PCs. But they aren’t selling them; it’s all part of a growing trend in retail, one that is melding people, technology and the supply chain. “The growing trend can be attributed to the growth of interest in technology automation in retail,” said Shyam Krishnan, program manager and team leader of the retail systems, kiosks and supply

Roughhousing Radio

After simmering in the background for the last few years as an accepted and mature technology, satellite radio is back in the news, and not only for the proposed merger between XM and Sirius. A recent judgment by a U.S. District Court could increase the heat in the courts and on the floor of Congress. Retailers should take note because the outcome could directly affect the products they sell. Last year, the music industry joined forces to launch a lawsuit against XM Satellite Radio. At the heart of the issue are the portable XM/Pioneer Inno and the XM+MP3 service. The technology allows users to record

The Senate Takes on Recording

While XM battles the right to record in court, the issue has much wider breadth, reaching the floor of the U.S. Senate. A bi-partisan group of Senators recently reintroduced a bill called the PERFORM Act. This act, introduced last year but not passed, has found its way back onto the docket in the current 110th Congress and seeks to require satellite, cable and Internet broadcasters to pay fair market value for the performance of digital music (right now pricing is different for each broadcast medium). Wrote Senator Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), “News radio services are allowing users to do more than simply listen to

Appealing To Dealers

The International Builders’ Show (IBS) is a little bit different than your typical CE show. Right next to an impressive home control demonstration you might find a nail-driving competition. And not far from the rows of high-end appliances you’ll find the latest in backhoes. It can be a fascinating show, but one has to ask, how important is this to a CE or major appliance dealer? It’s a question that Jeanette Howe, executive director of specialty electronics for Nationwide, is exploring as she attends the show - February 7 to 10 in Orlando, Fla. - for the first time. “I want to see who is

Gone, But Not Forgotten

Here we are at another CES and the beginning of another new year. Not only is this a good time to get a glimpse of all the things we can look forward to, it’s a good time for making some changes. You’ll see some in this issue of Dealerscope. We gave ourselves a new look, changing our design and adding a few new departments and columns. And if you haven’t visited our new Web site yet, you should definitely check it out. But the biggest change to come won’t actually take place until the next issue—a new Editor in Chief. Several months ago, I made

Liberty Lash

Bill Gates once told a room of bloggers that he thought digital rights management (DRM) was “too painful” for the average consumer and that he didn’t think anyone had gotten it right yet. He added that people might as well just buy CDs and encode them to their portable players, since that was the best way to stay legal. He may be right about the “too painful” part, but as for staying legal part—he may not be. Even after the successful crack down on file sharing services like Napster and the implementation of rights-protected music services like iTunes, the Recording Industry Association of America

SANDY BLOOMBERG

In a very general sense, there are two kinds of personalities in the CE industry: the frank-talking, shoot-from the hip, passionate independent, and the smart but carefully worded corporate type. Sandy Bloomberg is both of these rolled into one. And maybe that’s because his business, Tweeter Home Entertainment Group, is a little bit of both. Tweeter went from a startup dealer in the boom period of the 1970s to a publicly traded regional retail powerhouse with 153 stores in 23 states across the country. Even though the company has been experiencing some difficult times, it is still a major presence on the CE retail

People on the Move

Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A. announced that Bill Brewster, vice president, Marketing for the company, has been appointed to the EDSF (The Electronic Document Systems Foundation) 2007 Board of Directors. A non-profit organization dedicated to the document management and communications marketplace, EDSF aims to build and support the industry leaders of tomorrow. As part of the organization’s board, Mr. Brewster will now take part in helping grow EDSF initiatives and work to increase the number of scholarships for students worldwide, and increase the number of colleges and universities that participate in the research grant/mentoring program. ESPA Chairman Chuck Wilson announced that Deb Rolfes has been selected as

Glimpse of The Future?

Even with so many exercise gurus, Atkins addicts and health food evangelists pushing their mantras over the airwaves, Americans are still having a weight problem. And the problem is extending to some of our neighbors as well. This was the inspiration behind a recent design challenge by Electrolux, which put to task designers from all around the world to come up with appliances that could help encourage healthier lifestyles. The results were a variety of innovative products, most of which will probably not make show room floors, but may inspire similar products in lines yet to come. The winner of the competition was announced in

Holiday Milestones

Plasmas $499! Only 10 in stock!!!! GET ONE NOW!!! Sound familiar? For some these words were all too familiar and quite loud on Black Friday this year. And while many retailers, large and small reported that floor traffic was up, some trends are getting people worried, namely the drastic reduction in the average selling price of the previously premium flat panel category. Once the savior of the television category, retailers saw prices dip well below $1,000, spurred on by a charge on the vendor side to unload product, and the willingness of big box and national discount chains to take a loss on

Keeping In Touch

The cover story for this issue of Dealerscope takes a depature. Instead of profiling a CE retailer or other CE specific topic, our senior editor, Audrey Gray, visited the Ritz Carlton Company’s Leadership Center to find out why so many CEOs—including those of major retailers—were spending thousands of dollars to attend a week-long program on high-end service. Even more compelling than the service angle was how the Ritz-Carlton takes major strides to keep its own employees happy. Why? Because when you get down to it, hotel employees have some of the most thankless jobs on the planet. To paraphrase Diana Oreck, vice president of the