Stephen Baker

After spending the last five years on the ropes, it looks like Best Buy is swinging its way back to the center of the CE ring. The heavyweight champ still has some major challenges to conquer before it hits prime shape, but the strategies and initiatives CEO Herbert Joly has put in place during the last 10 months (as part of his Renew Blue program) has set Best Buy on the right path.

Ultrabooks are gaining in popularity, and the wide range of products available in the space are a strength rather than a weakness. That was the consensus of a panel at CEA Line Shows' Digital Downtown conference Thursday which looked at the new, thin class of Windows notebook PCs. 

I tend to agree with a recent blog posting by NPD Group analyst Stephen Baker that maintains Best Buy, despite it's recent troubles, isn't headed for the scrap heap just yet.

While overall CE sales in dollar terms dropped over last year on Black Friday week, "pockets of strength" remain that are reason for optimism.

Blu-ray Disc player sales set a record for unit volume during the Black Friday week (ended Nov. 28), up more than 50% from the same period last year, according to The NPD Group. Stephen Baker, VP of industry analysis with NPD, said more than 400,000 Blu-ray players were sold during the week as consumers gravitated toward steeply discounted models featuring Internet connectivity. The median price per unit was $113, down 23% from a median price of $145 last year. Notably, 3D Blu-ray players accounted for 15% of the units sold. “It was a boom time for Blu-ray players,” Baker

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