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February Was Not A Quiet Month

There is usually a quiet news period in February in the electronics/appliance business as the industry returns from International CES, follows up on new leads generated there, and focuses on TV sales for the Super Bowl.

Well, that tradition that has come and gone, as the stories in this issue and on seem to prove.

The plethora of smartphone and tablet announcements from the Mobile World Congress in Spain was just one illustration. LG Electronics acquiring WebOS from HP for its smart TVs is another.

Of course, there’s also Sony Electronics U.S. president Phil Molyneux outlining his company’s 4K Ultra High-Definition sales plans for the year.

Ultra HD will drive many consumers into retail stores later this year, out of curiosity if nothing else. That is what members of the BrandSource and Nationwide Marketing Group are hoping, whose organizations met at their annual late winter meetings in the past few weeks.

Heck, even Kaley Cuoco, star of the TV comedy “The Big Bang Theory,” made some CE news by tweeting support for Dish’s Hopper — tweaking her network CBS, which is suing the satellite maker over its commercial-skipping technology.

But the much-awaited fourth-quarter and fiscal-year financial results of Best Buy, and the outcome of founder Dick Schulze’s failed attempt to take the chain private, generated major news.

Best Buy’s Hubert Joly and his team reported some progress in its fiscal fourth quarter — slightly higher sales and a reduced loss. Progress, yes, but to actually get back to consistent sales growth in store and online and posting profits will still be a long battle.

As for Schulze’s attempt to take Best Buy private, many thought he could never do it, but his effort came far closer than many thought possible. His determination in this effort was in keeping with his lifelong reputation.

Marcia & Ed

While I was on a long-planned overseas vacation last week, TWICE made some news of its own: Marcia Grand, VP/publisher of TWICE, who has been here since 1986 when it was born and helped make it the industry leader, is retiring.

Our new VP/publisher is Ed Hecht, and he joined us last Monday. Ed has a diverse background, working for several major publishing titles and building a great record in print and digital formats. He is no stranger to the CE business, having attended International CES several times.

Marcia will be with us through the end of April as part of Ed’s transition as VP/publisher. I’ll have much more to say about her career and contributions to TWICE as we approach April 30.

In the meantime, please help me welcome Ed to TWICE and the electronics/appliance industry, and wish him and Marcia the best of luck.