Sony Sanctions Five E-tailers

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Sony Electronics has added five e-commerce sites to its short list of authorized online dealers.

The five newly sanctioned sites are operated by Abt Electronics, Circuit City, Hifi.com, Stereo Advantage and Tweeter Home Entertainment.

True to Sony's e-commerce policy, first elicited in September, the cyberstores represent extensions of the manufacturer's existent dealer base. Sony said it will eventually extend its online blessings to selected Internet-only e-tailers such as Amazon.com, with which it is holding discussions.

The five dealers join Crutchfield, the catalog and Internet retailer, as the only merchants authorized to sell Sony products over the Web.

The new additions represent a mix of retailers, ranging from Circuit City to Morton Grove, Ill.-based Abt, a one-unit family business and NATM member that launched its e-commerce site last January. By comparison, both Tweeter, located at Tweeter@Outpost.com, and Hifi.com, sister company to Cambridge SoundWorks, are relative newbies, having debuted their selling sites this fall.

Meanwhile, Stereo Advantage, a single-unit store in Williamsville, N.Y., shares a more interesting history with Sony. Its corporate parent, The Advantage Company, also operates some eight Sony Home Theater Stores in Michigan, Illinois and New York, as well as five SmartLink and three The Stereo Shop units throughout the Empire State.

Each of the Sony-authorized sites now carries a banner attesting to that status, and all but Circuit City have created separate Sony shopping areas or product showcases as part of the agreement.

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