Walmart’s CE Plans Target Entire Industry

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NEW YORK — No more Mr. Nice Guy.

That seems to be the message from Walmart to the consumer electronics industry, which last Thursday revealed its plans to dramatically upgrade its CE lineup.

Walmart, rarely No. 2 in anything, has been a perennial in that spot on the TWICE Top 100 CE Retailers Report trailing Best Buy. Today’s report continues that streak. The discount chain had $18.5 billion in sales in 2009, slightly more than half of Best Buy’s CE volume.

Walmart’s plans not only target Best Buy but CE retailers of all stripes, including the rest of the Top 100.

Higher-priced CE has always been a challenge for Walmart, as an analysis by CBS Money Watch recently reiterated.

Of course, part of the plan will be price “Rollbacks and Special Values” on selected brands. But the “connected living room” will play a key role with more streaming Blu-ray players, IPTVs, full-array backlit LED TVs and wireless. There will also be more mobile broadband, more smartphones, among other products and services.

Next year’s Top 100 will show whether Walmart’s strategy is a winner. Our Walmart Special Report in our June 7 issue will detail the retail giant’s current plans.


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