Roberds Highlights Home Theater

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Roberds, the Dayton, Ohio-based furniture, appliance and electronics chain, is devoting increased floor space and resources to the home theater category in anticipation of a digital gravy train.

The manifestation of its heightened home theater strategy is a 12,000-square-foot display the retailer unveiled last month at its newly renovated Norcross, Ga., store, located within an HDTV broadcast market.

The display, which Roberds describes as the largest in the state, features digital TVs, HDTVs, progressive-scan DVDs, home satellite systems, packaged home theater systems and other high-end A/V products from Philips, Mitsubishi, RCA, Sony and Toshiba. Living room furniture is also integrated into the display area.

The company said the new department, dubbed Home Theater Solutions @ Roberds, is a prototype that will be introduced at other locales within the 24-store chain.

"The future is here today, in the form of DVDs and HDTV," stated Roberds CEO Mel Baskin. "It's no longer a question of when or even if digital TV will arrive. It's already being broadcast in Atlanta and will be broadcast by all stations in the U.S. within the next few years.

"We're going to make sure our customers understand these new technologies, and provide them with a wide range of digital TV choices."

Roberds introduced its first Home Theater Solutions display in conjunction with the reopening of the Norcross store.

A grand reopening event brought out Atlanta mayor Bill Campbell, who enjoyed a demonstration of HDTV, and Atlanta Falcons star running back Jamel Anderson, who signed autographs for fans.

Publicly held Roberds operates stores in Ohio, Georgia and Florida. The company ranked 86th on the TWICE Retail Registry, with 1998 CE sales of $57.7 million.

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