By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
CHICAGO — Circuit City Stores will join a growing list of companies that have stopped selling mature-rated video games to customers under age 17. Circuit City will institute the new policy this month, when workers at the company's 627 stores will be advised to ask for identification from young people who attempt to buy M-rated video games without a parent, a company spokesman said. The policy also applies to R-rated movies and music CDs with parental advisory warnings. The decision was prompted by pressure from politicians, including Illinois Attorney General Jim Ryan and several U.S. senators, who contend that playing games with realistic depictions of violence can desensitize young people to violence. Target, Kmart and Wal-Mart announced similar policies last year, while Montgomery Ward and Sears had agreed to stop selling the games altogether.
SAN DIEGO — Specialty retailer Tweeter is building its first store here, which is expected to open in early June. Though Tweeter acquired the San Diego four-store chain Big Screen City and changed the names to Tweeter in May, this will be the company's first new building project in the area. And unlike the acquired stores, it will feature Tweeter's signature look. "We are pleased to be able to finally show our true colors in the San Diego area," said Jeff Stone, president/CEO of Tweeter Home Entertainment Group. "San Diego consumers can expect several more improvements and store relocations in the coming months as we expand our national Tweeter model to the area." Tweeter recently relocated its Encinitas location to incorporate the Tweeter design, and it has plans to open a new store in Riverside and to relocate two other area stores by the end of summer. In addition, the company is considering expanding to La Mesa and San Bernardino.
ATLANTA — Best Buy Co. recently selected business consulting firm Witness Solutions to assist the nationwide retailer in enhancing its customer service efforts. Using Witness Solutions' trademarked eQuality software in its Consumer Relations and Customer Care divisions, Best Buy hopes to ensure consistent customer service at its 400-plus brick & mortar stores, as well as on its Web site. The new software will allow Best Buy to record voice conversations with customers and the customer service representatives' corresponding desktop activities — ultimately creating a complete quality assessment of its own customer service centers.
FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. — National distributor group AVAD recently entered into an agreement with Coleman Cable Systems Inc., a manufacturer of wire and cable products, to service the electrical, electronic and automotive markets. AVAD will carry Coleman's exclusive line of coaxial and Cat 5 cables for its custom installation market services.
ARLINGTON, VA. — The International Mass Retail Association (IMRA) hailed the tax-relief program recently passed by Congress as a great victory for U.S. consumers, as well as a symbol of what bipartisan politics can achieve. IMRA has long supported the plan, which IMRA president Robert Verdisco called "the most significant tax-relief that Americans have seen in a generation." In particular, he said the rebates that will be mailed in the fall will boost the economy. "The rebates will arrive … just in time to help consumers pay for holiday purchases, offset their debts or save for their futures," he said. "We applaud Congress and the Bush Administration for this bipartisan effort to help Americans keep their hard-earned dollars."
ARLINGTON, VA. — The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) applauded Congress for the part of the recent tax-relief package that includes a tax deduction to help pay for educational expenses such as computers, related equipment, educational software and Internet access. "Enabling more households, especially those with children, to purchase computers and Internet access devices is important to the national effort to improve education," said CEA president/CEO Gary Shapiro.
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.