After testing the personal electronics waters with Sony since the fall, Tower Records debuted its first formal in-store personal electronics shop at a newly opened unit in Bellevue, Wash., today.
The 1,500-square-foot department carries Sony product exclusively, including stacked sound systems, boom boxes, CD clock radios, ten-minute voice recorders and two-way radios.
According to Kevin Cassidy, Tower's VP of North American operations, the music retailer quietly began selling Sony personal electronics at 25 stores last fall. The test met with "significant sell-through success" without the aid of marketing, and the effort has since been widened to an additional 35 locations. The new Bellevue store represents the first formal, "significantly-sized" electronics department, and Tower hopes to have "the bulk" of its locations retrofitted with some version of its in-store shop before the holiday selling season, Cassidy said.
Cassidy added that while Sony has been its exclusive supplier to date, Tower been "entertaining" other manufacturers. It also plans to explore other product categories, including portable DVD players, which would "marry well with our dramatically expanding DVD inventory," he said.
The in-store shops represent the company's second venture into consumer electronics, following the creation of five WOW Multimedia stores in California and Nevada as part of a joint venture with The Good Guys. Personal electronics are not sold in the WOW stores, Cassidy said.