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Polk Audio Inks Best Buy, Apple Deals

In almost back-to-back deals, Polk Audio announced it will sell through Best Buy for the first time in its history in June, and via Apple stores and Apple’s online stores

Polk Audio will sell select home audio products become available through all of Best Buy’s brick-and-mortar stores and through Best Buy’s online store. Polk already sells home and car audio to Circuit City and Tweeter.

Best Buy will carry Polk’s new TSi home speaker series, dubbed a high-performance, high-value series, as well as select SKUs from the PSW subwoofer series and RM series speakers. Best Buy also gets the sound-bar-shaped SurroundBar 360 DVD Theater system and the I-Sonic iPod-docking tabletop HD Radio with iTunes Tagging.

Polk’s products will appear on Best Buy’s main sales floor and not in the chain’s Magnolia Home Theater departments, said senior marketing VP Dan Hodgson. The distribution agreement doesn’t include products from the audio supplier’s “Polk Audio Designs” sub-brand, he added. The sub-brand appears on mass-appeal products, including iPod accessories, radios and audio systems.

Hodgson also pointed out that the products sold through Best Buy are not exclusive to the chain, nor are Circuit City’s SKUs. Polk offers many broad lines, and “not every retailer carries everything,” he said.

Although the Polk brand hasn’t been available through Best Buy before, sister brand Definitive Technology is available through Best Buy’s Magnolia departments, Hodgson noted. Polk and Definition are owned by Directed Electronics, owner of multiple car electronics brands. Directed bought Polk in 2006.

Polk and Best Buy are a good fit, said Polk Audio president Jim Herd. “From the company’s beginning in 1972, Polk Audio has been famous for designing and marketing audio products that offer a demonstrably higher level of performance, but at real-world price points,” he said. “Our product line offers superior performance for consumers who demand a better home theater experience, making Polk Audio the perfect complement to Best Buy’s tremendous selection of flat-panel TVs and other home entertainment products.”

Said Directed president/CEO Jim Minarik, “We have been very pleased with the performance of Polk Audio since our acquisition of the company in 2006. This opportunity with Best Buy greatly expands the market presence of Polk’s marquee brand through one of the most exciting retailers in the history of home entertainment. This expansion also complements our existing product offerings at Best Buy and strengthens our leading position in the home audio market.”

Polk Audio’s first products sold through Apple stores and Apple’s online store are the I-Sonic ES2, an iPod-docking iTunes-tagging tabletop stereo with HD Radio, and the miDock Studio, a portable AC/DC iPod speaker. The I-Sonic system will retail for $499 in Apple outlets. The miDock Studio will retail for $229 in the stores. Both products will be available in March through the Apple outlets.

“The Apple store is one of the most creative and consumer-oriented retail businesses today, which comes as no surprise given how brilliantly the parent company designs and markets its products,” said Herd. Last fall when it introduced the I-Sonic ES2, Polk said it planned to sell the unit through Apple stores. Apple operates more than 170 Apple store locations.