Laura Spinale

CE sales from Black Friday through December 23, 2006, jumped 6.5 percent over 2005’s tally, to $8.75 billion, according to analyst NPD Group. Concurrently, the Consumer Electronics Association is projecting that factory-to-dealer CE sales will surpass the $155 billion mark this year, a 7 percent gain over 2006. In order to claim their piece of the ever-growing CE pie, the 101 merchants listed in this year’s Dealerscope registry are buying new companies, testing new store formats, and entering or exiting markets. In the process, their revenues are growing: Registry retailers rang up $196.93 billion in sales during 2006, a 7.52 percent increase over

Researching this year’s Top 50 consumer electronics retailers in the United States and Canada, grandiose descriptive phrases such as “in the world” and “in the nation” keep popping up. And no one’s puffing. Thank a string of mergers for the “big get bigger” marketplace. Companies in this year’s Dealerscope registry rang up $133.48 billion in sales during 2005, a 9.39 percent increase over 2004’s $122.02 billion tally. Among these retailers are Sears and Kmart, which combined sold a total of $3.19 billion worth of CE products. Last March, Kmart effectively bought Sears, and the two companies now operate as subsidiaries of Sears Holding

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

By Laura Spinale The flameout. It can certainly accompany plunging revenues. Just look at Gateway, which saw North American overall sales drop from $8.15 billion to $5.38 billion between 2000 and 2001. More surreptitiously, high sales volume does not equal profitability. Witness Kmart. That company's sales dipped 0.82 percent, to $36.24 billion, in 2001. Kmart filed bankruptcy in January and later announced it would close 284 under-performing stores and cut 22,000 jobs. Meanwhile, Amazon.com cut costs, pressed operational efficiencies and leveraged traffic-generating partnerships. Amazon.com's net sales for 2001 reached a record-setting $3.12 billion, a 13 percent increase; its Electronics, Tools and Kitchen segments operating losses

Specialized Selling Strategies By Laura Spinale Any marketing guru will tell you this: You can't sell to everyone. The Four Seasons Restaurant in New York does not serve its $45 filet of bison with truffle sauce alongside 99-cent six-pack chicken strips. Jaguar has never manufactured mid-price minivans. Successful companies find a profitable socio-economic niche and sell to it. Customers who operate outside that niche take their business elsewhere. If you don't like or can't afford The Four Seasons' buffalo, you can get some chicken strips at KFC. CE retailers have begun to accept and implement this philosophy. With the

By Laura Spinale As each of the nation's Top 10 Major Appliance retailers scrambled for a share of this year's $11.259 billion registry, thousands of small chains and independent dealers fear the big boxes' redoubled emphasis on category sales. The little guys ponder how to best combat two significant chain moves: Home Depot's expansion of its home appliance department (now serving up GE and Maytag offerings); and Circu it City's decision to build a series of free-standing major appliance stores. Independents especially worry that a price war between Home Depot and its top competitor, Lowe's (ranked third in the Top

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