New York — The Anti-Defamation League’s National Consumer Technology Industry divisio
Denver – Azione Unlimited, the education/buying group for system integrators and custom retailers, took home 10 of 35 CEDIA Recognition awards at this month’s CEDIA Expo here.
Group winners included Audio Images, which received a Silver Technical Design award within the Best Home Theater category.
During the show Azione also conducted a dealer meeting at the local Wynkoop Brewery to discuss products and industry trends; toured neighboring dealer member Xssentials Xperience Center; and followed that with a dealer-vendor cocktail party and networking event.
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.
Washington – Retail sales in November and December will increase 3.9 percent, to $602.1 billion, the National Retail Federation (NRF) has projected.
The trade group’s forecast jibes with the 4-percent increase predicted by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), although the latter anticipates a $738 billion holiday tally.
Dallas — The NATM Buying Group reported that total annual sales for the 11 member electronics/appliance group will be $6.5 billion, about the same as last year, but with dramatic growth in appliance sales and improved profitability across the board.
Bill Trawick, president and executive director of NATM, was upbeat about independent retailing in electronics and appliances and especially in the group’s major appliance growth. He said the mix between the two main categories is now “about 50/50,” but the gains in white goods have been substantial.
Minneapolis – Target will become an MVNO on Oct. 6 with the launch of a prepaid plan through T-Mobile.
The No. 2 discount chain said pricing for its Brightspot mobile program will begin at $35 per month for unlimited talk and text, while a $50 tier adds unlimited data and up to 1GB of 4G data over T-Mobile’s HSPA+ and LTE networks.
Hoffman Estates, Ill. — Sears Holdings has borrowed $1 billion under a new loan facility.
The loan extends an existing credit agreement that provides nearly $3.3 billion in revolving credit.
Sears said it will use the new loan to pay down $1 billion in borrowings under the revolving credit facility.
Framingham, Mass. — Staples has completed the acquisition of Runa, a San Mateo, Calif.-based software company that develops shopping personalization programs for e-tailers.
Terms and conditions of the acquisition were not disclosed.
Runa’s PerfectOffer software serves up automated, data-driven and personalized offers in real time, while its PerfectShipping program provides real-time personalized delivery estimates and free-shipping offers, the companies said.
Barrington, Ill. — Via International, a consortium of six custom integrators created in August, has joined the Home Technology Specialists of America (HTSA) buying group.
According to Via CEO and founding member Randy Stearns, five of the organization’s six members had already been long-time HTSA members.
“The decision to consolidate our individual buying group memberships into one partnership with the HTSA is in alignment with our business strategy to combine resources to build a more competitive organization,” he said.
San Bruno, Calif. – Walmart is opening two massive distribution centers dedicated to fulfilling online orders only.
Its Fort Worth, Texas facility is 800,000 square feet, will have 275 full-time employees, and began shipping orders last week. The second warehouse, in Bethlehem, Pa., will be more than 1 million square feet and employ over 350 workers when it opens in the first quarter.
Combined, the new operations will house hundreds of thousands of CE, toy, apparel, fitness equipment and sporting goods SKUs.
Seattle – Amazon.com is hiring over 70,000 full-time temporary workers to man its fulfillment centers this holiday season, a 40 percent increase over last year.
The No. 1 e-tailer said the extra labor is required to meet an expected increase in customer demand. It also represents the biggest hike in seasonal hiring reported by CE sellers thus far.
New York — Holiday sales are expected to rise 3.4 percent year over year, according to a new retail report.
The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), a trade group, said its November to December forecast is up slightly from the 2012 holiday season, even though retailers are anticipating more modest sales.
But despite retailer’s mixed outlook, and the economy’s “mini-cycle slowdown” over the last three quarters, this year’s holiday sales environment is looking up, ICSC said.