By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Las Vegas – Holiday sales of the core TV, PC, tablet and headphone categories rose 3.7 percent to $9.5 billion during the critical five weeks between Nov. 24 and Dec. 28, The NPD Group reported, compared to a year-ago rise of 1 percent.
The categories, which include desktop and notebook PCs, represent the top five CE product sectors by revenue, excluding mobile phones, Kindle tablets and e-readers, and video game hardware and software.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.
CES 2014 Las Vegas – While bad weather and home delivery issues caused headaches for retailers during the holiday season, overall the participants in TWICE’s annual CES Retail Roundtable, moderated by TWICE retail editor Alan Wolf, reported were generally upbeat.
Steve Baker, VP of industry analysis for The NPD Group, said when everything was tallied together about $22 billion was spent during the holidays, up about 5 percent from 2012. Black Friday sales alone were around $4.9 billion, up about 10 percent, he noted.
Indianapolis – h.h.gregg said its decision to stay above the promotional fray during the holiday season hurt sales.
According to preliminary estimates, net sales fell 11.6 percent to $707.1 million, and comp sales decreased 11.2 percent, for the third fiscal quarter ended Dec. 31, 2013.
The chain’s computing and wireless category took the biggest hit, with comps falling about 24.5 percent, while its CE business, largely comprised of TV, decreased approximately 20 percent.
New York — Strong sales of video games, TVs and Apple products, particularly during Thanksgiving weekend and late December, helped make Best Buy “the holiday winner,” retail analyst David Strasser reported.
Strasser, who covers hardline retail for Janney, Montgomery, Scott, estimated that Best Buy’s November-December comp sales rose about 2 percent in the U.S. on top of flat prior-year performance, driven by aggressive promotions.
New York – Many retailers were open on Thanksgiving Day, so why not New Year’s?
According to a retail rundown by International Business Times, a slew of national chains plan to open their doors tomorrow with modified hours and the first sales promotions of 2014.
Chester Springs, Pa. – Azione Unlimited (AU), the education and buying group for custom retailers and integrators, has selected the term “Elevate” as its theme for 2014.
According to AU founder Richard Glikes, elevate reflects four goals for the organization: Raising labor prices and efficiencies; selling more expensive brands and models within these brands; improving the level of salesmanship; and implementing best practices that six AU committees are now developing.
Tustin, Calif. – Bob Lawrence plans to step down as CEO of the BrandSource buying group by the end of 2014.
A search committee led by BrandSource dealers will begin an internal and external hunt for his successor beginning in January.
Lawrence, who has headed the $14 billion operation since 1994, told TWICE “It’s time for some new blood and new ideas.”
Chicago – Brick-and-mortar retail sales declined 3.1 percent last week as pre-winter storms put the kibosh on late Christmas shopping, according to market research firm ShopperTrak.
The bad weather, combined with a deluge of last-minute online orders, also swamped UPS and FedEx logistics systems, leading to a small percentage of missed Christmas deliveries and prompting Amazon.com to offer shipping refunds and $20 gift cards as compensation.
Charleston, S.C. – Holiday purchases of consumer electronics rose 27 percent year over year, making it one of the biggest growth categories of the season.
According to seven weekly consumer surveys by America’s Research Group and Inmar, 27.6 percent of holiday shoppers bought CE this year, compared to 21.7 percent in 2012.
Of those, 18 percent of consumers purchased a TV, up from 13.1 percent last year; 17.5 percent bought a computer, compared to 10.6 percent in 2012; and a whopping 42.5 percent bought video games, vs. 35.4 percent last year.
Colorado Springs, Colo. – Westone, a manufacturer of high-performance audio and in-ear earphones, has joined the vendor roster of the Azione Unlimited (AU) buying group.
AU’s member dealers and custom integrators will have access to
Westone’s ES line of custom in-ear monitors, which is aimed at affluent clients, audiophiles and musicians who desire a professional-grade earphone, the manufacturer said.