Ground Zero

Digital Downtown shifted from a business-to-business conference on Thursday to a consumer playground on Friday. Thousands of curious consumers took their turns at hands-on demos, from electric drum kits to state-of-the-art razors at the 30 tech displays in the World Financial Center’s Winter Garden. “It’s nice to engage with consumers,” said Philips Consumer Lifestyle’s Lindsay Woods. “They’ll tell us, ‘I love this, but next time, can you put an HDMI cable on the side?’ or ‘Thank for adding that massage feature to my toothbrush!’” Woods said some showcase visitors were so excited about the range of new personal tech products on display

Ike Mor, 16, leaned up against a building across the street from New York’s City Hall. He’s on a lunch break from his first summer job in Manhattan and he’s flipping through a catalog of digital cameras, looking to spend some of his first paycheck on a Nikon point-and-shoot. “They have everything here, and it’s pretty cheap too,” he said, gesturing over his shoulder at the long block of individual consumer electronics storefronts that make up J&R Music and Computer World. “I already compared online.” Surprised that a teenager is so savvy? It’s no shock to the staff of J&R, 650 employees who are

Economic Woes Push Retailers Into Uncharted Business Territories By Laura Spinale Whether expanding into foreign climes, ferreting out new markets domestically or buffing up or scaling back operations, a plethora of North American consumer electronics retailers plotted new business courses last year. The Top 50 CE retailers listed in this year's registry rang up a whopping $109.79 billion in sales during 2002, a 7.29 percent increase over the $102.33 billion earned in 2001. But those sales didn't come easy. Count a lackluster economy as one hurdle. Shrinking sales and profits forced once-powerful retailers such as Ames, and e-tailers including 800.com, to shut their doors last year, and

Dealerscope advisors explain what their economic bellwethers are saying By David Dritsas The year 2001 will go down in history as one of our nation's most challenging years, both politically and economically. The National Bureau of Economic Research recently declared that the U.S. is in a recession that effectively began in March. Even so, the holiday shopping season started strong and Dealerscope's Editorial Advisory Board maintains a cautious but positive outlook. Some look at traditional larger scale economic indicators. "I use basically two things," said Steve Witt, VP of brand marketing & communications, Alpine Electronics of America, "looking at the overall output, using GDP

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