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Sears Tests Private Label PTV, Resets CE Departments

Hoffman Estates, Ill. — Sears has introduced its first liquid crystal on silicon (LCoS) rear-projection TV, which it is marketing under a new private label Veos brand.

The 65-inch, 720p monitor, supplied by Tempe, Ariz.-based chip and microdisplay products manufacturer Brillian Corp., will retail for $8,000 following an introductory price of $7,600.

The set is being sold online at and at a limited number of Sears stores.

According to a Sears spokeman, the company is testing customer response to the Veos product but has not made a decision about the future of the brand. Sears’ strength has traditionally been in its core private label badges, including Kenmore in appliances and Craftsman in tools and hardware. Veos would represent the retailer’s first private label CE program since its LXI Series of A/V products and accessories was pulled in the 1990s. It’s previous CE and musical instrument house brand, the decades-old Silvertone label, was retired in 1972.

Regardless of whether it resumes a private label strategy in CE, “Sears’ assortment in the HDTV category will continue to be dominated by major national brands such as Sony, Panasonic, Samsung and Mitsubishi,” the spokesman said.

The set itself boasts a contrast ratio of 2000:1 and features three 1,280-by-720 pixel “Gen II” microdisplays, one DVI input, and an optional expansion port for ATSC tuner, CableCARD and IEEE 1394 memory card devices. Brillian, which also produces microdisplay subsystems and head-mounted displays, announced its entry into the HDTV market last year by offering turnkey TVs to OEMs and retailers.

In other Sears news, the company is nearing completion of its CE department retrofits. The first finished department can be found in the chain’s West Dundee, Ill., store, while the balance of the 870-plus full line locations were schedule to be completed by the first week of September.