Sony US exits direct retail

Sony US is to close down its direct retail business, closing the 10 remaining stores this year.

The decision follows the failure of a new Sony store concept which superseded its Sony Style format about four years ago. It has run its own retail stores for more than a decade in the US, but never achieved the sales or awareness of Apple which set a global standard in electronics retailing.

Instead, the Japanese electronics giant will focus on partnering with specialist retail chains to boost sales in the US market, where it has struggled to achieve profitability for years, against tough competition from Korean and Chinese rivals.

Sony Electronics, now renamed Sony North America and managing sales, marketing, distribution and customer service throughout the US, Canada and Puerto Rico, will maintain a brand-building flagship in New York and another showcase near its motion picture studio in California.

Mike Fasulo, president of Sony North America, confirmed this week that 20 stores were closed last year and the remaining 10 will be closed as leases expire or are renegotiated.

It would now focus on stores-within-multi-brand-stores like Best Buy, a strategy which has worked well for Samsung.

Most of the Sony US stores were in shopping centres with high rents and were not selling sufficient volume to justify their continued trading.

Mike Fasulo, president of Sony North America, said Sony US now has concessions in about 400 Best Buys across the US and aims to boost that to 500 this year in that and other chains.


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