Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Update: Wal-Mart Steps Up CE Presence

We've been told by spokesperson Christi Gallagher at Wal-Mart Canada that the announcement mentioned below is specific to U.S. Wal-Mart stores. However, Wal-Mart Canada has been remodeling its existing stores and opening new Super Centres over the past year, all of which employ a new format for the electronics department. In the case of new stores, this represents about 7,000 sq. ft. of space dedicated to consumer electronics: about double what was previously offered! All stores also feature a new, more open-concept design that allows customers to walk freely through the aisles instead of entering a dedicated CE area.

Gallagher says the changes were made based on research conducted with its Super Centre stores. Not surprisingly, she says iPods and HDTVs are two of Wal-Mart's "hottest selling items right now". The retailer has even added a Connection Centre kiosk in new stores that features things like mobile phones, satellite radio receivers, and GPS devices. Although Wal-Mart Canada hasn't taken on the Skype products like its counterpart in the U.S., the retail giant has been offering Vonage VoIP service since January of this year.

In a way, this is also good news for other CE retailers: if the biggest retailer in the world is ramping up its technology offerings, this means that interest in CE products is as healthy as ever.

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