News Column

Best Buy, Sony team up for home theater stores-in-stores

May 1, 2014

By Tom Webb, Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.



May 01--Sony Electronics plans to open home-theater displays within 350 Best Buy big-box locations, the latest manufacturer to embrace the store-in-a-store concept at Best Buy.

The partners announced Thursday that the new "Sony Experience at Best Buy" will feature the new generation of 4K Ultra high-definition televisions, along with interactive displays and dedicated Best Buy sales personnel. The first Sony Experience locations will open this month.

"The Sony Experience will give consumers a shopping experience unlike anything before," Mike Mohan, Best Buy's chief merchandising offer, said in a statement. He added that the home-theater areas "will, for the first time, allow customers to test, try and experience how all of the Sony products work together.

"

Sony rival Samsung earlier opened a fleet of shops within Best Buy stores, as have other consumer-electronics manufacturers including Microsoft and Apple.

Officials of Richfield-based Best Buy have said they are discussing partnership deals with a lineup of top consumer-electronics manufacturers. Most of those manufacturers have few if any stores of their own and rely on retailers to showcase their wares.

The number of consumer-electronics retailers, however, has dwindled with the demise of Circuit City, Ultimate Electronics and others. The Sony Experience displays will open in about one-third of all Best Buy big-box locations, including some locations in the Twin Cities.

"We are not releasing specific markets or locations for a couple of weeks yet," Best Buy spokeswoman Lisa Hawks said Thursday. "It is safe to say it is coming to this market but just not when or where, as of yet."

The partners said the Sony Experience shops will start appearing this month and be fully in place by the end of the summer.

Tom Webb can be reached at 651-228-5428. Follow him at twitter.com/TomWebbMN.

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(c)2014 the Pioneer Press (St. Paul, Minn.)

Visit the Pioneer Press (St. Paul, Minn.) at www.twincities.com

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Source: Saint Paul Pioneer Press (MN)


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