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CE/Majap Retail Sales To Grow 5% This Fall: IBM

Armonk, N.Y. – Retail
sales of consumer electronics and major appliances are expected to grow 5
percent in September and October, according to a new forecast by IBM.

analytics-based projection pegs the autumn increase at $739 million, suggesting
that conservatively stocked dealers rethink their inventory needs.

“The forecast
indicates that retailers should consider maintaining inventory levels, especially
in the hot categories,” said IBM global business services partner Michael
Haydock, who heads the company’s retail analytics efforts.

Haydock also
recommends that CE and majap dealers “make sure that stores are staffed with
skilled personnel who can assist customers with complex purchases,” and that
they continue to invest in advertising leading up to the holidays.

The IBM forecast
is produced using statistical and analytical software to evaluate long-term sales
trend and seasonal peaks, based on economic data gathered by the U.S. Census
Bureau. Covered categories include TVs, cellphones, PCs, radios, audio, refrigerators,
dishwashers, ovens and other devices.

IBM consultants
use these predictive techniques to help clients improve performance by
addressing complex supply and demand issues, which can help in planning their
product mix or new store locations.

The autumn uptick
comes after a slow start to 2010. Combined January and February sales were down
$846 million, or 5 percent, from the prior-year period, although March through May
sales recovered with an overall revenue increase of $483 million, or 2 percent
year over year.

IBM had projected
a 4 percent increase for the summer months, although dealers have described
sales this season as unusually slow.

Haydock attributed
the projected September to October increase to a rise in disposable income and
the household savings rate, suggesting pent-up consumer demand. The two-month
period also faces easy year-ago comparisons, with CE and majap sales falling
6.6 percent, or more than $1 billion, from the same period in 2008.

For more
information on IBM’s global business services, visit