By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Canton, Mass. — Hard hit by a President's holiday Northeast snowstorm, where it has a majority of its stores, specialty retailer Tweeter Home Entertainment Group expects comp-store sales, for its quarter ending March 31, to be down 12 percent to 15 percent. These numbers are below the previously announced range of negative 5 percent to 8 percent. Through March 18, comp-store sales for the current quarter were off 12 percent.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands— In an effort to counter weak demand, Royal Philips Electronics announced 1,600 job cuts in its semiconductor unit as well as the closing of a semiconductor fabrication operation plant in San Antonio. The strategy, which is expected to deliver Philips about $220 million in annualized savings, follows job cuts and the closing of another U.S. semiconductor plant late last year. The most recent closure will result in a restructuring charge of about $220 million, $33 million of which will be taken in the first quarter of 2003, with $77 million and $110 million taken in the second and third quarters, respectively.
Helsinki, Finland— The weak economy and Iraq-inspired global uncertainties are playing key roles in keeping consumers from purchasing color-screen cellphones, said mobile phone maker Nokia, which has warned of lower sales and earnings in the first quarter. Nokia's sales of mobile phones in the first three months are expected to be at the low end of the guided range of flat to 9 percent year-on-year growth, but profitability in the company's mobile phone segment will continue. Overall mobile phone market volume in the first quarter is expected to show healthy year-on-year growth, said Nokia.
Parsippany, N.J. — Emerson Radio chairman/CEO Geoffrey P. Jurick is reducing his ownership in the company to about 21 percent. In a filing of a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Emerson said Jurick would make a public offering of 4.8 million shares. Most of the proceeds are expected to be used to settle long outstanding litigation concerning Jurick, to pay for various expenses associated with the litigation and to defray certain costs incurred to effect the registration and offering. Following the offering, he is expected to continue to own about 5.7 million Emerson shares.
Pasadena, Calif. — After a review of its accounting policies by a new independent accounting firm, media and technology company Gemstar-TV Guide International, which focuses on consumer TV guidance and home entertainment, expects to lower consolidated revenue for several fiscal periods by a total of $110.9 million. Consolidated income (loss) before income tax and extraordinary items will be reduced by $36.3 million and consolidated Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA) will be reduced by $45.2 million. The periods include those ending March 31, 2000, Dec. 31, 2000 and Dec. 31, 2001. Fiscal quarters will include those ended March 31, June 30 and Sept. 30 — all in 2002. Gemstar, at the end of January, had warned of possible restatements.
Littleton, Colo. — Satellite television entertainment services provider EchoStar Communications has scheduled a May launch for a new satellite which will include 32 Ku-band fixed satellite services transponders that will enhance EchoStar's current U.S. DISH Network satellite TV service, including additional service for Alaska and Hawaii. Called EchoStar IX, the satellite will join the company's fleet of eight satellites that provide DISH Network customers with hundreds of all-digital TV channels — including interactive TV services and sports and high-definition programming.
Petaluma, Calif. — Power conditioning products maker Panamax has moved its corporate headquarters and operations center to a new 15,000-square-foot building here. The building is designed to provide the company with a more consolidated facility as well as with added space for research and development functions. Panamaz specializes in products that protect consumer electronics and small business electronics from damage caused by power surges and lightning.
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.