By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
ANN ARBOR, MICH. – A sharp drop in online customer satisfaction, and improved service and deeper discounts at brick-and-mortar stores, have leveled the playing field between the two retail channels, a new study has found.
According the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), which rates companies on a scale of 0 to 100 based on thousands of consumer interviews, brick-and-mortar retailers equaled their online counterparts for the first time since e-tailers were added to the satisfaction surveys 14 years ago.
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.
ISSAQUAH, WASH. – Costco, the No. 1 warehouse club, recently added camera and tablet coverage to its exclusive protection plan program with SquareTrade.
The new categories join TVs, computers and cellphones among Costco’s handful of extended-service plan options.
The SquareTrade-branded programs are merchandised alongside their respective CE products via descriptive sales cards, and, according to Costco assistant general merchandise manager Steve Messmer, have proven very successful, even in the chain’s unaided sales environment.
NAPERVILLE, ILL. – Barrett’s Technology Solutions has revamped its Chicago-area showroom to better demonstrate the pairing of home automation with elegant design.
The 48-year-old A/V specialty dealer, system integrator and custom installer said its new Design Center was developed to inform as well as inspire, and shows how smart technology can complement décor without disrupting aesthetics.
Aaron’s Adds Global Warranty Group
ATLANTA – Aaron’s, the lease-to-own CE, appliance and furniture chain, has signed Global Warranty Group (GWG) as its exclusive extended service provider. Under terms of the agreement, GWG will provide protection plans for appliances, electronics and computers, and riding mowers.
NEW YORK – Snow and slow CE demand and a data breach were among the reasons why chain stores experienced a winter of discontent in the last quarter.
Among retailers reporting, Walmart U.S. president/CEO Bill Simon said comp sales within the entertainment category, which includes CE and toys, fell by the mid-single digits despite a strong start to the holiday season.
HOFFMAN ESTATES, ILL. — Sears Holdings reported lower sales while net losses continue.
The company, which operates Sears and Kmart, reported a net loss of $358 million for the fourth quarter and $1.4 billion for the full year of 2013. This compares with net loss of $489 million and $930 million, respectively, for the prior year fourth quarter and full year.
Fourth-quarter revenues decreased $1.7 billion to $10.6 billion for the quarter, ended Feb. 1, compared with revenues of $12.3 billion for last year’s final quarter.
MINNEAPOLIS – After being hammered for reporting in January that sales were off slightly for the holiday season, Best Buy said last week it returned to profitability in the fourth quarter and full fiscal year.
Paul Rutenis, senior VP/chief merchandising officer, RadioShack: One of the things that we are looking at as an audio play is that 80 percent of America probably doesn’t know what Bluetooth is. Our kids that are 18 and under probably know more about Bluetooth than the 24- to 50-year-old individual.
LAS VEGAS — Despite a soft holiday season and an icy start to the new year, the top merchants on TWICE’s annual Retail Executive Roundtable are bullish on 2014.
Why? Bluetooth for one. Wireless connectivity remains a new concept to most consumers, panelists said, and the sky’s the limit for A/V dealers that can creatively demo the technology and the plethora of compatible products.
TWICE: Starpower was at the forefront of Ultra HD TV as a regional launch pad. A year-and-a-half later, where do we stand with the category?
Dan Pidgeon, chairman, Starpower Home Entertainment Systems: When people walk in and see the 4K display – it is obviously presented at the very front of our stores – they gravitate right toward it and are just in awe.