Sunday, May 17, 2009

Wal-Mart Steps Up Its Game in Electronics Aisle

Read the article at WSJ

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is revamping the electronics departments in its more than 3,500 U.S. stores this week, ramping up an aggressive battle with Best Buy Co. and to seize customers up for grabs due to the demise of Circuit City Stores Inc.

Wal-Mart's roomier and more interactive electronics displays begin arriving in stores Monday, showcasing the latest mobile phones and portable computers, and including standalone sections for popular brands such as Nintendo Co. and Apple Inc.

Circuit City filed for bankruptcy last November and closed its stores in March. Its closing left about $11.1 billion in annual revenue up for grabs, estimated Deutsche Bank.

But Best Buy has seen fewer shoppers walking through its doors during the recession, while Wal-Mart is gaining shoppers. Wal-Mart also is leveraging a more subtle advantage it boasts over standalone electronics chains: a mom-heavy clientele. Retailers say women often have final say over household purchases of new video games and televisions.

Best Buy was assumed to be the biggest beneficiary of Circuit City's liquidation. But Morgan Stanley analyst Gregory Melich recently noted first-quarter market-share estimates show Wal-Mart and Amazon splitting much of Circuit City's television business.

—Geoffrey Fowler contributed to this article.

Write to Miguel Bustillo at

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