By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Dallas — Convenience store chain 7-Eleven is selling prepaid music download cards from Musicmatch. The cards retail for $9.90, and can be redeemed for 10 tunes that can be downloaded from Musicmatch's online music store, which offers over 550,000 tracks. The deal "provided us with an easy and effective way to bring digital music to the masses in a prepaid format," said Kevin Elliot, VP/merchandising for 7-Eleven, and represents "the first of many planned retail distribution channels" for Musicmatch.
Framingham, Mass.— Seventies rocker Alice Cooper is starring in a new back-to-school commercial for Staples that incorporates his 1972 hit "School's Out." The 30-second spot features Cooper in full stage persona, shopping for school supplies with his disgruntled daughter. "[It] places him in an amusing situation that you wouldn't normally picture him in," said Shira Goodman, Staples' executive VP/marketing.
Opens In Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS— Sears has opened its third Sears Grand store, this one in Las Vegas. The prototype format, which features traffic-driving, quick-turn items like CDs, DVDs, books, magazines and pantry goods in addition to the company's core majaps, CE, lawn and garden, tools, hardware, sporting goods and apparel departments, is a cornerstone of Sears' new off-the-mall strategy. Like its predecessors, the freestanding store also features wider aisles, improved signage and sightlines, shopping carts and entrance area checkout. Sears celebrated the opening on July 31 with giveaways, demonstrations, character appearances and contests. The company plans to open upwards of 11 more Grand units by the end of 2005.
New York — Partsearch Technologies, a replacement parts and accessories service, has added Amazon.com to a growing client list of CE dealers that includes Best Buy, Tweeter Home Entertainment, Ultimate Electronics, CompUSA, Good Guys, H.H. Gregg and Conn's. Effective last month, shoppers at Amazon's electronics store can seamlessly purchase replacement parts and accessories for their CE devices, computers and wireless products using Partsearch's proprietary identification system and 6 million-SKU master parts catalog.
Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.— AVAD LLC, a leading distributor of custom home systems and technology, has opened a second showroom and distribution center in Texas and expanded an existing one in Indiana. The former is a 26,000-square-foot facility in Houston that also features a training area and call center. The two-year-old Indiana facility, located in Carmel, has expanded by 50 percent in order to keep up with "higher-than-anticipated growth in demand" for AVAD's products, training programs and technical support, the group said.
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.