Mahwah, N.J. — Sharp has licensed its badge to Best Buy for use on an exclusive line of LED TVs that the retailer is direct-sourcing elsewhere.
The competitively-priced program includes 32-, 42- and 50-inch FullHD models bearing the Sharp brand and carrying current retails of $200, $330 and $430, respectively.
Jim Sanduski, acting president of Sharp Electronics Marketing Company of America (SEMCA) and product marketing senior VP, told TWICE in an email that the TVs are being produced to Sharp’s “exacting quality standards,” and are separate from, though complementary to, the Sharp Aquos open line of small- and midsized premium LED TVs.
Sanduski said his company is involved in the Best Buy program end-to-end, from developing the models and ensuring they meet Sharp’s quality requirements to creating in-store and online marketing materials to support them.
He said the licensing program “provides additional exposure for the Sharp brand at a key CE retailer and extends the options consumers have to find the right Sharp TV for their needs.”
Sanduski emphasized that Sharp remains fully committed to the open Aquos line and its national and key regional customers, including Amazon.com, hhgregg, P.C. Richard & Son, Sears and other dominant dealers.
In a research note, Janney Capital Markets retail analyst David Strasser described the move as “brilliant” on Best Buy’s part but questionable for Sharp.
For the merchant, paying a modest licensing fee to use the Sharp brand to sell “essentially Insignia-featured TVs” could prove “a modest game changer on price leadership,” Strasser observed. But he was less convinced that “it’s a great long-term strategy for Sharp.”
For his part, Sanduski stressed that the products are produced specifically for Best Buy's Sharp line and "are not simply rebranded Insignia products."