Sony: Gearing Up To Sell Flat Screens, Wal-Mart Style

Eric Savitz (Barron's) submits: Sony (SNE) is readying a line of economy priced flat-panel televisions for sale at Wal-Mart (WMT), Target (TGT) and other price-conscious retailers. A group of U.S. executives from Sony's consumer electronics business discussed that news - and a variety of other topics - in a two-hour lunch briefing with a small group of reporters Monday afternoon in San Francisco.

Randy Waymick, SVP for marketing in the Home Products Division of Sony Electronics, said the company will launch its value-priced display line within 30 to 60 days. Several other comments Sony executives made at the event made it clear why the company might want to go in this direction. For one thing, the average price of a 40-inch Sony LCD display is $1,999, which is still a lot of money for many people to pay for a television. Chris Gaebler, vice president for corporate market at Sony Electronics, said that a third of the people who buy flat panels are above the age of 50 - more evidence that flat panels TVs are not quite the mainstream product that the industry would like

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