The month of November was a sweet one for the Amazon Kindle as the e-book reader posted its best sales month ever. The Kindle is the best selling electronics product on Amazon right now and hits the top spot as the most gifted and most wished for device. Seriously. With the Barnes & Noble Nook missing in action and Sony’s lineup of e-book readers still lacking wireless connectivity, the Kindle is the only game in town for the casual consumer looking to get in on the e-book explosion. It also doesn’t hurt that Amazon brought the Kindle down to a more reasonable $259 price point and added in that much requested international wireless connectivity. Somebody has to be buying all these Kindles, so ‘fess up, will there be a Kindle in your stocking this holiday season? More →
Circuit City closed its doors earlier this year following a last ditch effort to stay afloat that just didn’t pan out. Some, such as the 35,000 or so people left without a job, were pretty sad to see the company go — there isn’t much competition these days as far as brick and mortar electronics mega retailers go. While Circuit City’s physical locations have all been retired at this point, their spirit lives on in the newly revived CircuitCity.com. Earlier this week, Systemax completed a deal to purchase various Circuit City assets and the company wasted no time in relaunching the website, which is now live and boasting lower prices, a wider selection, faster shipping and 24/7 customer service. Cool. Systemax also owns TigerDirect and CompUSA (which it acquired last year) so consumer electronics is clearly nothing new for the company. Anyone happy to see CC back in action, at least to some extent?
Recession? What recession? Best Buy posted its financial results for the fourth quarter of its fiscal year ending February 28th yesterday and all things considered, business looked pretty darn good. In the 12 months leading up to March 1st — the same period of time that saw Circuit City tank and wither away — Best Buy added 213 new locations (net). Crazy. Q4 revenue rang in at $14.7 billion, 10 percent above Q4 in the company’s prior fiscal year. The big sellers? Laptops and cellphones. Profits did decline 23 percent to $570 million however; partially a result of bad exchange rates and $144 million in restructuring and impairment charges. Perhaps the most interesting takeaway was Best Buy’s statement that while traffic in its stores dropped in Q4, customer spending increased. Less people are shopping but those who are spend more money — surprising considering the fact that consumer electronics costs are constantly being driven down.
[Via The New York Times]
Black Friday is behind us now, thankfully, but that doesn’t mean the savings are going to stop any time soon. Electronics retail stores are hurting just like everyone else in today’s troubled times and as such, expect huge deals from the big boys in the weeks leading up to the holidays. Along those lines, Best Buy and Circuit City have both made their Cyber Monday deals available beginning today and it might be the perfect time to take a huge bite out of your holiday shopping. Special deals at both retailers can be found through COB tomorrow, although don’t be too upset if you can’t find the time to head down to your local store or even browse the sale sections online. There will be plenty more deals to come in December as retailers do everything in their power to get you to fork over some cash, even if it means watching their profit margins dwindle.
Read (Best Buy)
Read (Circuit City)
If the story of retail giant Circuit City was a book, Chapter 11 was a section it had certainly hoped would be skipped. Just one short week after news that the retail chain would be closing up shop in 155 of its locations, Circuit City has now announced that it will reorganize under Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Under the protection of Chapter 11, Circuit City should be able to continue paying salaries and providing benefits to its employees as well as honor all current customer programs including returns, exchanges and gift cards. A blurb from James A. Marcum, vice chairman and acting president:
We recently have taken intensive measures to overcome our deteriorating liquidity position. The decision to restructure the business through a Chapter 11 filing should provide us with the opportunity to strengthen our balance sheet, create a more efficient expense structure and ultimately position the company to compete more effectively. In the meantime, our stores remain fully operational, and our associates are focused on consistent and successful execution this holiday season and beyond.
The good news in all of this is that locations not affected by the aforementioned closures will remain open for business during the reorganization, provided the Bankruptcy Court grants Circuit City’s request to remain operational as expected. As the economic struggles in this country continue, we can only hope a Chapter 11 reorg will be successful in stabilizing the retailer’s business and might prevent further layoffs as Circuit City begins a long and difficult climb out of its horrible current financial situation.
Back in June we told you about the updated electronics recycling program Best Buy was piloting (above and beyond their efforts already in place) and we’re happy to see other big retailers jumping on board with programs of their own. RadioShack is jazzing things up a bit with it’s electronics recycling program and offering up cash for your unused gear. Well, not really cash, but you’ll get a gift card good at any Shack which is still pretty cool. The process is easy – hit the site, appraise your unused electronics online and as long as your appraisal is realistic (don’t try to pass off your smashed BlackBerry as brand new) you’ll know exactly how much you’re in store for. The prices aren’t half bad either and some are even more than what you might get from eBay. $255 for a Nokia N95 8GB, $62 for a Samsung Blackjack, $42 for a 3rd generation iPod classic, $300 or more for a used laptop… They’ll even take that old Vertu Ascent off your hands for an even $510. Ok well that last one’s probably not such a good deal, but it’s definitely worth browsing through the site to see if RadioShack might be able to lighten the financial burden that this holiday season will undoubtedly be.
Kudos, Best Buy. The national electronics retail giant announced a new recycling initiative launched yesterday that is being piloted in 117 stores across Baltimore, San Francisco, and Minnesota. This new program by the way, is above and beyond the already available recycling services already offered at all Best Buy locations. We know all you BGR readers go through gear like it’s going out of style; are you disposing of your un-eBayables responsibly? Readers in the markets mentioned above can bring their dust catchers and doorstops down to the local Best Buy and feel good knowing that they’re helping the environment. Examples of items that will be accepted: televisions and monitors up to 32″, computers, phones, cameras, and other electronics devices and peripherals. Examples of items that will not be accepted: Televisions or monitor screens greater than 32″, console televisions, air conditioners, microwaves and appliances. Don’t panic if you’re not covered in one of those three citys though. As we mentioned above, Best Buy already has some programs in place that are carried out by each and every one of their US stores. Details from the press release: