By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
New York — International Data Corp. and Gartner Dataquest reported PC shipments were better than expected for the U.S. and worldwide markets in the second quarter, with Dell retaining the top spot at both research firms. IDC said U.S. sales rose 8.1 percent during the period, while Gartner Dataquest, which tracks shipments differently, put the increase at about 11 percent. Worldwide, IDC saw a 7.6 percent increase and Gartner, a 10 percent jump. Low single-digit growth had originally been anticipated. IDC credited aggressive U.S. pricing and a surge in notebooks and general consumer sales for the increase in that region. Worldwide, the relatively quick resolution of the SARS issue was a huge plus. Hewlett-Packard was the second largest shipper in the United States, according to the firms, but they are withholding posting the rest of the top five until Gateway releases its earnings July 24.
Richmond, Va. — Circuit City Stores has entered a four-year, $500 million senior revolving credit facility, which is secured by inventory and assets arising out of the sale of inventory. The credit facility replaces $210 million in unsecured committed lines of credit. The new facility primarily will finance working capital needs, but also provides flexibility for general corporate purposes. "This credit facility strengthens our liquidity and gives us an attractive source of funding to help pursue our financial and strategic objectives," said Michael E. Foss, senior VP/CFO.
Tokyo — Sharp announced plans to double its monthly assembly of large screen LCD TVs at its Rosarito, Mexico plant in time to support the North American market for the 2003 holiday selling season. The company said, here, it would increase monthly production at the plant to 20,000 units starting around the October-March period. That would be up from the current 10,000 units, according to reports. The Rosarito facility assembles LCD TVs from component parts, many of which are manufactured in Japan. The plant produces LCD TVs in screen sizes measuring 20-, 22-, 30- and 37-inches. Sharp will use the increased production at the plant to boost North American sales of LCD TVs to 400,000 this fiscal year through March 2004, up about 70 percent.
Newton, Iowa — Major appliance maker Maytag, which had nearly $1 billion in long-term debt at the end of the second quarter, has had its long-term corporate and senior unsecured debt ratings lowered by Standard & Poor's, to BBB, from BBB-plus. The reduction reflects Maytag's weakened operating and financial performance, said the rating agency, which expects the company will continue to be challenged by a slowdown in demand for major appliances. However, Standard & Poor's said Maytag's outlook is stable and that it believes the company's financial ratios will remain at current levels during the intermediate term. (See Maytag second quarter financial report, p. 16.)
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.