Hurry, hurry, hurry! Step right up! See the big screen of your dreams right here in our store! Take home an HDTV today!
Sure, we expect to find HDTVs for sale in the major big box consumer electronics chains such as Best Buy and Circuit City. We even look for them in the discount clubs like Costco. And as I have reported here, the electronics part chain Radio Shack and the hegemonic Wal-mart have started stocking HDTVs. Who else is going to get into the act?
According to a report yesterday in the Wall Street Journal, lots of store chains are trying to get in on the action, though some of the choices may be a bit puzzling. When you think big screen entertainment, do you think office supplies? Office Depot is hoping that you will. Or if you need plasma along with some pine boards, Home Depot will sell you both along with the tools you need to install them. Or maybe you want to buy a new outfit to wear when you throw a party to celebrate the arrival of your new HDTV, in which case the department chaing Kohl’s will be ready to help you out.
Competition is already tough in this market and margins are slim. If the existing customers don’t buy these new big screens, then these chains will have to attract new customers, which can be costly. The real test will be to see how many are still selling HDTVs a few months after the holiday buying season ends.
Sometimes I wonder whether the only people making money in this business are the trucking firms, who get paid to haul all those boxes around the country.