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Distributors See Hope For Industry In New Year’s Trends

NEW YORK — The post-holiday and Super Bowl TV seasons were better than expected; Windows 8, OLED and Ultra High- Definition TVs should create excitement — if not higher sales — at retail; and vendor pricing policies, which began last year, seem to be bolstering margins.

These were some of the key comments of distributors contacted by TWICE for this special firstquarter report.

TWICE reached out to a variety of key executives with some of the industry’s top distribution companies in the past couple of weeks and their responses are presented here.

Distributors said first-quarter sales were good, as were TV sales, but some commented that while business was improved in some cases, it did not make up for lower fourth-quarter sales in video.

And while some had concerns about the industry’s unilateral pricing policies (UPP) and other such plans put in place by vendors last year, most applauded their efforts to bolster profit margins and reported progress on this front for 2013.

Windows 8 should give a more than immediate boost to overall sales as 2013 rolls on, distributors indicated, and Ultra HD, if it does nothing else, will get consumers to visit stores to check out the giant crystalclear images. The TVs, which will remain high-priced this year, will at least give retailers the opportunity to show and sell these customers on other products.

Distributors also see opportunities for retailers that decide to enter new categories like mobile products, headphones and even non-CE categories, as well as broadening assortments of existing categories this year.

The following is our “virtual roundtable” based on questions TWICE recently asked via email.