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Runco Dealers Cleared To Add Planar Products

4/01/2008 12:04:00 PM Eastern

Los Cabos, Mexico — Deviating slightly from its original segmented brand distribution policy, the head of Planar’s home theater display group told Runco’s dealers today that the company is considering opening Planar display products for distribution through Runco dealers and reps.

Scott Hix, Planar home theater display products group VP, made the announcement to top dealers and reps last week during Runco’s Mexican Getaway after hearing from numerous Runco dealers that they would like to have Planar products to use as an entry home theater display brand. Dealers would use Planar to step customers up to Runco’s premium items.

Hix said a number of dealers are currently using other brands of projectors to do the same thing, and would be willing to add Planar products to fill out their assortments.

The move is a departure from the Planar and Runco strategies to not allow cross-merchandising products from different brands owned by the company. That policy was clearly underscored again when Planar acquired Runco last May. However, while the Runco and Vidikron lines will continue to be targeted at different retail accounts, Planar will now be available for cross merchandising, Hix said.

Planar, which now has about 350 dealers in North America, has a product line of projectors and flat-panel displays in the $2,000 to $10,000 price range, Hix said. The “sweet spot” of the Runco and Vidikron lines ranges from $6,000 to about $250,000.

“I didn’t want to tell [Runco dealers to add Planar], I wanted to be asked,” Hix said, adding that the Runco Advisory Council of dealers asked Hix to make Planar products available to them.

Hix said the broader set of Runco dealers are being informed of the change April 1, with the caveat that the company will “keep a separation of church and state to a point,” meaning the company will not start putting Runco CineWide lenses on Planar products or cheapen Runco products using lower quality Planar technologies.

“It’s a dangerous game in theory because too many people have tried to spin this thing a bit,” Hix said. “We will not try to denigrate a Ferrari by making it into a Ford, but I’m a little greedy, and I don’t like to walk into anyone’s store and see anything but my brands being represented.”