A MoMA store gift idea for the wine enthusiast in your family could be this wine glass inside a bottle by Claudio Colucci. The carafe is hand blown so that a … Read more
Just a week after saying it was closing some stores to get its finances in order, Circuit City on Monday filed for bankruptcy protection. It will help keep creditors like Sony, Microsoft, Toshiba, and many others who have yet to receive payment for their products, at bay while Circuit City tries to get back on track. The company has also secured a $1.1 billion debtors' line of credit to keep stores open and pay its employees.
The timing, for a retailer, couldn't be worse. It's not exactly assuring that right as we're about to start holiday shopping one of the main places for consumer electronics gifts seems unstable. So what does this mean for consumers? Here are some important questions and answers about what Circuit City's current situation means for you.
Q: Does this mean less choice for places to shop for the holidays? A: Actually, no. Circuit City will be open for business as usual. The company did announce last week that it would be closing 155 stores, which will go on as planned, but 566 of its stores will remain open. Whether they will be fully stocked is another question, but Circuit City says that its new line of credit will help keep its shelves full.
Q: Will there be any staff around to answer my questions? A: Circuit City says it's reduced its support staff in district and regional roles, in addition to the positions eliminated at its stores currently being liquidated. Overall, there will be 20 percent fewer employees company-wide, but the retailer insists its stores will be well-staffed during the holidays. … Read more
With the dour economy playing grinch this holiday season, e-commerce retailers may want to focus on offers of free shipping and online coupons, according to a recent survey by comScore.
In a survey of more than 1,000 consumers taken in mid-October, comScore found 73 percent of respondents planned to save money this holiday season by buying fewer gifts and 69 percent by buying less expensive presents, while 37 percent planned to use coupons.
comScore also found that in the third quarter, 25 million Americans visited coupon sites, up 26 percent from the previous quarter. And it's not just … Read more
No sooner had I posted an announcement about Iriver's holiday price drops than fellow Korean DAP manufacturer Cowon hit us with some news about some enticing pricing of its own. The company is lowering the MSRPs for all models currently marketed in the U.S., with the exception of the newly-released O2. For the rest, you can expect to see a drop of between $20 (for the smaller, flash-based players) all the way up to $70 for the 80GB Q5W.
You can find a complete list of the new prices below, but I wanted to give special attention to … Read more
While many retailers are understandably nervous about what this holiday will bring, none is likely more so than Circuit City.
Blockbuster rescinded an offer to buy the beleaguered chain earlier this year and its CEO stepped down in September. Its stock has been languishing below $1 for long enough that the company has been notified it could be delisted from the New York Stock Exchange. And now the company has been forced to close 155 stores right before the crucial holiday sales period because of the dearth of credit available in the market right now.
For all intents and purposes, it appears the nation's second-largest electronics retailer is on the verge of disaster. Even if this season's sales results end up not being as bleak as some are predicting, it's unlikely even that could save Circuit City at this point. Circuit City did not respond to a request for comment for this article.
Though Wall Street analysts who watch Circuit City closest aren't ready to go on record to go on a death watch for the electronics chain, suffice it to say, its pulse is getting weaker and things aren't looking good.
The global credit crunch is hurting Circuit City in particular. The retailer buys TVs, stereos, laptops, and other gadgets on credit, usually at a good rate from vendors with the promise to pay it back once the company sells the goods in its stores. But as the company has racked up huge losses, vendors are not giving Circuit City reasonable financing rates. Though Circuit City hasn't come out and said so, some vendors could be convinced altogether that the retailer flat out won't be able to pay the money back and could decline to send Circuit City any products at all. At that point, it becomes almost impossible for Circuit City to operate.
Because of this, the business model of Circuit City and other electronics retailers doesn't work without very fast growth. And sales of many of the big-ticket items like notebooks, flat-panel TVs, and even gaming consoles (it's the first year in awhile there won't be a hot, new, hard-to-get console), are tapering off.
No doubt, the slumping economy is causing some consumers to be more conservative about purchases this year. Consumers polled by the Consumer Electronics Association say they plan to spend $200 less this year than last on holiday items.
Add to that a fundamental shift in the way media is consumed--more online video and digital downloads, slowly moving away from packaged media and accompanying players--and the future of the electronics retail business doesn't look so bright. As prices drop, it gets harder to grow business. And without that growth, it's impossible for Circuit City to pay back those loans, much less suddenly become profitable, said one analyst who asked not to be quoted.… Read more
Iriver does a solid job with its MP3 players. They're always packed with features and generally offer good sound quality. The company isn't exactly known for competitive pricing, though, so it's always nice to see lower tags on its devices.
For the holiday season this year, Iriver is slashing prices on the Spinn, the LPlayer, and the E100. Starting November 1, you can pick up a 4GB or 8GB Spinn for $189.99 or $229.99, respectively (down from $249.99 and $279.99). Prices on the E100 and the ultracompact LPlayer are being cut by $40 … Read more
If you thought the days of massive price drops in HDTV prices were over, think again. According to a survey by DisplaySearch, average global Internet pricing across all TV categories fell by a whopping 22 percent in September compared with the same month last year.
The survey found that larger models experienced the biggest drops year-over-year. In one example, worldwide prices for 52-inch LCDs--the largest popular size--fell 30 percent since last September, while 20-inch LCDs only fell 4 percent. In the North American region, one of the four tracked by the survey, the drop in the 52-inch LCD size was … Read more
I know you're still figuring out the details of your Thanksgiving meal, but it's actually already time to start thinking about the holidays. By which I mean holiday gifts. As in, start scouring the Internet and scoping out the stores, because every person on your list needs a thoughtful, perfect, chosen-just-for-you gift.
The good folks at Hammacher Schlemmer have some ideas, and we'll look at a few of them over the next several days. First up is the Chef's Remote Thermometer Monitor, a wireless meat thermometer and timer that lets you keep tabs on the cooking … Read more
Computer security gets a new meaning in this mockup from Yanko Design, a "Web magazine dedicated to introducing the best modern international design." We can't think of too many people who would risk checking their e-mail on your laptop with this laptop finger trap installed.
The designer calls it "an analog extension is used for deterrence of unsolicited use of your own laptop." We call it the new No. 1 item on our stocking stuffer holiday gift list.