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Same Old Story? Not Quite.

The more things change, the more they stay the same, at least according to the annual TWICE Top 100 Consumer Electronics Retailers Report.

CE sales were flat to down in 2014, depending on the how you interpret the numbers, and the 10 largest sellers remained the same on a year-to-year basis. But that doesn’t mean the industry was stagnant. Indeed, it was volatile as ever.

We said goodbye to a few stalwarts, like Manhattan’s iconic J&R Music World and American TV. OfficeMax got swallowed by Office Depot.

On the plus side of the ledger, traditional suppliers Microsoft and Lenovo grew their retail footprints enough to gain a ranking, following in the footsteps of Apple, which, at No. 4, has set the standard for vendors that want to take their wares to consumers directly.

Another newcomer to our list, and I certainly didn’t see this coming, is Groupon, which has grown from an online resource for coupons, into a full-fledged retail powerhouse.

But the numbers only tell part of story.

This year we decided to look beyond the straight sales numbers, and even beyond the CE business, and call out some retailers that are kicking butt in their own way. Senior editor Alan Wolf labeled these 10 examples of retail innovation “Retail Rebels.” I like to think of them as retail disrupters. They represent all that is feisty and revolutionary in the merchant world, and you can get to know all 10. It’s an impressive list and one that we hope will inspire others to act, perhaps prompting a list of 20 next year.

If there is a retailer worthy of the list that we overlooked, we’d love to hear about them. Please don’t hesitate to weigh in on or email me or Alan.

This year’s Top 100 also sports a new look, with comprehensive capsule reports on each retailer’s year, but, no worries, if you liked the tabular presentation of past years.

And, once again, we will be offering a value-added version of the report, for those who really want to dig deep, for purchase on our website The online version will have everything that appears in print but will add additional breakout charts by channel, as well as complete contact information for the key executives of each retailer. It is a valuable resource for any manufacturer, or anyone who wants to do business with the most powerful retailers in the CE world.

CES Asia-bound
Next week kicks off the very first CES Asia, set for Shanghai, China, on May 25-27, presented by the Consumer Electronics Association. TWICE will be on the scene to bring you a first-hand look at the keynotes, power sessions, exhibitor news and the sights and sounds of the first major technology trade show ever for the Chinese market.

For more immediate news, follow us on Twitter @TWICEOnline and @johnlaposky. If you’re going to be at the show and have a few minutes to chat, ping me on Twitter or email me at [email protected].