By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Torrance, Calif. — Citing the increase in music downloading and below-cost discounting by mass merchants, music and movie software chain Wherehouse Entertainment filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month, the second time in eight years. The company, which recently closed 30 stores, said it plans to use the Chapter 11 process to shut another 120 under-performing locations and re-capitalize to shore up the approximately 250 remaining units. Warehouse is one of six retailers that last month formed the Echo digital music distribution consortium.
Scottsdale, Ariz. — Wireless Retail, the kiosk-based wireless phone chain, said a 43 percent hike in post-paid, in-store activations representing over one million new customers helped propel 2002 revenue 44 percent to $300 million. The solid results came amid poor fourth-quarter reports from wireless carriers and retailers, and analysts' dour outlook for the sector. President/CEO Dan McMahan attributed the gains to the chain's business model of "offering retailers cost-effective and profitable outsourced sales programs for wireless and other subscription-based products and services." Wireless Retail's more than 1,900 staffed kiosks can be found in Wal-Mart, RadioShack, Blockbuster and Kmart stores.
Germantown, Tenn. — MEGA Group USA/Best Brands Plus is marking its 20th anniversary this year with a "Celebration" incentive program that will culminate in a dealer/vendor Caribbean cruise in November. Board member Mike Tucker said the incentives "will help focus the MEGA members on growing the business for 2003 around key programs and suppliers." The buying group, founded with five dealers in 1983, now numbers more than 700 members with 1,500 storefronts in 25 states, including some 100 Best Brands Plus-bannered retailers.
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.