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CE Sales Increase 2% For Top 100 Retailers

NEW YORK — Retail sales of consumer electronics
products rose 1.8 percent last year for the industry’s
100 largest dealers. Their total haul: $121.3 billion, up
from $119.1 billion in 2008.

Not a bad take for the worst year of
the worst recession in decades.

But the numbers, which came by way
of the TWICE Top 100 CE Retailers
report, our annual review
of the state of electronics
retailing, reveal a tale
of two cities in 2009, as
some businesses saw their
fortunes soar and others
rode out the clock to oblivion.
Most Top 100 dealers
took a licking with singleand
double-digit declines
last year, but lived to see
another day.

Last year’s slim sales total
also trails the 3 percent net increase
eked out in 2008.

The rankings, compiled by TWICE
research partner The Stevenson Company
of Louisville, Ky., reconfirmed
the concentration of CE buying power
among a handful of chains. The 10
largest dealers accounted for 74 percent
of Top 100 volume last year, while
those ranked 26th through 100th together
less than 10 percent
of sales.

Not surprisingly,
Best Buy, with a
healthy 7 percent sales
gain, retained its No. 1
berth on the Top 100
charts, while flat sales
kept No. 2 Walmart
at arm’s length last
year. A 6 percent sales
decline left Apple a
distant third.

At the other end of the spectrum,
former and current NATM buying
group members Queen City (down 8
percent) and Cowboy Maloney’s (up 5
percent) returned to the rankings after several years’ absence, coming in at
Nos. 99 and 100, respectively.

New to the rankings this year are, a 13-year-old IT e-tailer
that came in at No. 80, and InMotion
Entertainment, which operates 55 CE
shops in airports around the country. It
makes its Top 100 debut at No. 89.

Dealers probably making their final
appearance on the listing include Bernie’s
and MyerEmco.

Paul’s TV earns kudos for greatest
growth. The Southern California
A/V specialist, ranked 70th with a bullet,
saw its CE sales skyrocket 75 percent
last year as it rolled out in-store
shops to furniture chains. Its gains were
nearly twice those of the next biggest
mover, (No. 8), which increased CE revenue by 40 percent.

Conversely, companies taking it on
the chin during the last year of the first
decade of the new millennium included
Magnolia Audio Video (No. 77), down
46 percent, and Ritz Camera (No. 37),
off by 42 percent.

Viewed by channel of distribution,
multiregional CE and majap chains
such as Best Buy, Fry’s and hhgregg
accounted for the largest share of Top
100 dollars at 28.6 percent, or $32.6
billion in sales.

Mass merchants such as Sears,
Walmart and Target comprised the
second-largest chunk of Top 100 revenue,
with 23.5 percent, or $28.5 billion
in sales.

Market share for most distribution
channels remained fairly static during
2009, despite the loss of Circuit City.
Indeed, Circuit’s CE-only grouping
only shed 60 basis points of Top 100
share year over year, while the massmerchant
category slipped 30 basis
points on volume declines at Sears and
Kmart. Only the national CE/majap
chains showed significant movement,
with market share up nearly 1 full percentage
point from 2008.


Retailers Report ranks the leading domestic
CE dealers by sales of consumer

Sales figures are based on information
that was supplied by retailers responding
to a 300-dealer survey by
TWICE and its research partner The
Stevenson Company. Absent retailers’
input, estimates were developed
from Stevenson’s internal market tracking
surveys (TraQline), industry sizing
based on wholesale shipment figures
from the Consumer Electronics Association
(CEA) and other sources, and
average retail price points by product.

All estimates were further refined
through the use of public filings with the
Securities and Exchange Commission
(SEC), TWICE industry analyses, retail
analysts’ financial reports, published
data and other external sources.

Once the estimate was determined to
be a reasonable assumption of the retailer’s
CE sales, the figure was broken
out by product category based on the
TraQline surveys.

Sales figures by total and by category
for 2009 were then compared to 2008
sales tallies, and adjusted if necessary
to more closely track total reported revenue

Businesses must meet the following
criteria to be considered consumer
electronics retailers and to qualify for
inclusion in the Top 100 report:

• sells new products directly to consumers;

• has physical retail store locations,
or has a significant online presence;

• sells consumer electronic products
as one of its principal lines of business;

• does not offer consumer electronics
products primarily to sell its transmission
services, i.e. wireless carriers, cable operators,
satellite radio/TV providers; and

• sells merchandise that is considered
consumer electronics products as
defined by the CEA (see product definitions below).

Sales are considered to be the revenue
received for the products sold primarily
to consumers, including CE hardware
and accessories; personal computers,
peripherals and software; and video
game platforms and software.

Sales of prerecorded music CDs
and movie DVDs and Blu-ray discs are
excluded from the report.

Respondents were also instructed to
exclude revenues received for installation
services, repair services, rentals, extended-
service contracts and vendor marketing
support, as well as sales to the business,
government and education channels.

Based on The Stevenson Company’s
proprietary methodology, a refined baseline
was developed for this annual project
effective with the 2005 Top 100 CE Retailers
report, our first collaboration, covering
the years 2003 and 2004. Therefore,
comparisons with Top 100 reports issued
prior to 2005 would be imprecise.

The Stevenson Company, based in
Louisville, Ky., began as the global economic
analysis and research department
of GE Appliances. Now independent, the
market research firm has served the consumer
electronics and major appliances
industries for the past 13 years by developing
markets sizing and market share estimates.
Its TraQline syndicated quarterly
survey of 150,000 shoppers measures retail
purchases of consumer durables and
provides estimates of unit and dollar market
share and other key measures.

So What’s A CE Product?

As defined by the Consumer
Electronics Association,
here is a breakdown of
what constitutes a consumer electronics
product and what was included
in the Top 100’s sales totals:



Miscellaneous accessories

Audio products:

Home speakers
CD players (home and portable)
Home theater in a box
Pocket and portable radios
MP3 players
Mini stereos
Clock radios
Blank CDs and cassette tapes

Communications products:

Cordless phones
Corded phones
Answering machines
Fax machines
CB radios

Video products:

Blu-ray and DVD players
DVD recorders
Hard-disk recorders
Satellite TV dishes, systems
TVs and TV/VCRs
Blank DVD/VHS media
Video game players
Video games


Desktop/notebook PCs
External drives
CD-R decks
Hardware (cards, hard drives,
keyboards, mice, etc.)
Digital cameras
Flash media


Car speakers
Car radios
Car CD players
Car amps
Satellite radios
Car radar detectors
Burglar alarms
Mobile TVs
Video monitors
Car media players (DVDs, VCRs)
Car receivers