Sony Style Named Best Vendor Retailer

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Sony opened its first Sony Style retail store four years ago in Orange County, Calif., attempting to respond to consumer confusion about "the shift in technology from an analog to a digital world," Dennis Syracuse, Sony Style's retail senior VP, told TWICE.

Syracuse said the vendor felt that it needed an environment where it could communicate information about what these paradigm changes would mean to consumers' lives, and that it wanted to do so in a way that would "support our dealers, channels and consumers."

The chain, this year's recipient of TWICE's Excellence in Retailing Award in the Best Vendor Retailer category, is said to be targeted at women because the company foresaw that women would become an increasingly "major force of consumer electronics purchasing," said Syracuse.

The chain currently has 55 locations, including outlet stores, each featuring an edited selection of Sony products. According to Syracuse, Sony's original goal was to reach "the 50 major metropolitan markets in the U.S.," and the company is now getting close to reaching that goal. In turn, he said, he expected expansion to slow down so that the business can focus on maintaining the quality of experience it provides consumers in its existing stores.

Sales hit $740 million last year, according to TWICE's Top 100 Retailers report, making Sony Style the 22nd largest CE chain.

"Our original mission was to support the consumer and the channel by hitting these markets. If we're doing that, there's no reason for us to become a bigger retailer. We're a retailer because we want to support our products." Syracuse said.

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