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RadioShack To Add LG, Panasonic LCDs

RadioShack will begin selling flat-panel LCD TVs from LG and Panasonic in 3,000 stores this September.

The displays will join an opening price point assortment of Akai LCDs that are currently in 650 stores and will be rolled out to all of RadioShack’s approximately 5,000 company-owned locations in September.

RadioShack already offers a wide assortment of LCD displays online, including models by Sharp, Samsung, Syntax and Vivitek.

The in-store displays will range from 20W inches to 42W inches, said Emily Reagan, senior marketing director, during a RadioShack holiday line preview here.

Three Akai 720p monitors represent the chain’s opening price point tier: a 20W-inch unit retailing for $450, a 27W-inch model priced at $800, and a 32W-inch SKUs selling for $1,200. Specs and pricing on the LG and Panasonic programs were not yet available.

Acting CEO Claire Babrowski, speaking at a recent RadioShack shareholder conference, said the summer-long rollout follows a successful 40-store test that began last fall. She said the depth and breadth of the assortment will vary by store, and that the TVs would replace a wide range of less-productive categories, including such novelty items as karaoke keyboards, which will be moved online or dropped.

RadioShack exited the direct-view TV category earlier this decade at the conclusion of a multi-year pact with Thomson. But LCDs’ smaller form factor “gives us an opportunity to participate,” Babrowski said, given the smaller footprint of RadioShack stores. Executives added that falling LCD prices are making the TVs more accessible to the mass market, and more attractive to RadioShack, which already carries a multitude of HD adjuncts including cables, antennas, Dish subscriptions, upconverting DVD players, audio and, most recently, TiVo products and services.