Stores Drive Oct. Video Sales Through Roof

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Consumer electronics retailers are apparently banking on a spectacular video hardware holiday selling season and turned the October growth performance of sales to dealers into something not seen since the start of the decade.

All categories showed at least double-digit increases from October of last year. Sales of TV/VCRs, VCRs, camcorders and DVD players all eclipsed the all-time monthly highs set in September; projection TVs topped an all-time record set in September of 1997; and color TV hit a four-year high with the largest percentage growth since 1993.

DVD player sales closed out October with an all-time record high week that pushed the cumulative sales total just over the 4 million mark.

The month's sales of direct-view color jumped 13.3% to 2.57 million, to leave the 10-month total at 18.7 million, up 3.6% from last year. Based on traditional selling patterns, October sales were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 24.2 million, the best since last April, and that left the 10-month rate at 23.3 million.

TV/VCR sales surged 32.4% in October to 516,100 and closed out the full period at 3.63 million, up 41.5%. The indicated annual selling rate for the month approached 4.7 million and lifted the 10-month rate to 4.5 million.

Projection TVs posted a 20.6% increase to 138,100, for a 10-month total of just less than 949,000, up 13.2%. But the month's indicated annual selling rate of 1.21 million was slightly off from the year-to-date average of 1.23 million.

VCRs posted a solid 29.7% increase, outselling color TV and coming in at 2.78 million. The 10-month sales total of 18.2 million was up 27.5%. The October annualized selling rate was a strong 24.7 million and well over the 22.7 million maintained during the first 10 months.

Camcorders turned into the core video product growth leader with a 37.4% climb to 580,600. That left the full-period total at 3.94 million, up 21.7%. The indicated annual selling rate was a record 5.4 million and up significantly from the 10-month rate of 4.8 million.

DVD players came in at 683,000, topping camcorder monthly volume for the first time and recording a 269.8% gain from October of last year. Through 10 months DVD sales stood at 2.98 million, up 247.8 %, which put the historic sales total at 4.4 million. Using historic VCR sales as a guide indicates DVD players sold at a spectacular annual rate of 5.4 million in October. The 10-month rate stood at a more realistic 3.7 million, though a 4 million sales year now appears to be within reach.


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