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Best Buy Pushes its Private-Label Consumer Electronics Brand
Oct 5, 2004
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Retailer Best Buy Inc. will offer an expanded range of its own branded products -- such as LCD televisions -- as it pushes into the growing market for lower-priced, private-label consumer electronics, the company said.

The U.S. consumer electronics retailer began offering its Insignia brand a few months ago and next year expects to significantly expand the line beyond the six products it now sells, said Michael Vitelli, a Best Buy senior vice president.

"This is not a single-year strategy," Mr. Vitelli said. "The intent is to have a broad selection of products across most of our electronics product line."

He added the Insignia line fills holes on shelves, offers shoppers lower-priced items and helps Best Buy compete with rivals such as Circuit City Stores Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which are pushing into private-label consumer electronics. It also allows the company to take on computer makers like Dell Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co., which have announced their own lineup of televisions aimed at carving out a bigger piece of the consumer electronics market.

As an example, Mr. Vitelli said a 23-in liquid crystal display (LCD) Insignia television sells for U.S. $1,649, a suggested retail price that is less than well-known brand names at Best Buy stores.

"There is a large portion of the marketplace that looks at very high (priced) consumer electronics and says, 'I'd like to get into this category sooner rather than later and at a little lower price,'" Mr. Vitelli said. "There is no significant private label consumer electronics brand out there that I am aware of."

Currently, Best Buy, which uses contract manufacturers for the products, also offers lower-priced Insignia portable DVDs and desktop personal computers but could one day expand the line into different price categories, Mr. Vitelli said.
The goal, however, is not to supplant higher-priced products from top-name companies, but rather it is to build Insignia into a brand that offers shoppers a reliable name for less money, he added.

"Our intent is not to compete with the core technology manufacturers," Mr. Vitelli said. "We are not going to be a research and development company. We are not going to invest money there." (Reuters)

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