Magazine article Gramophone

'There's More Money to Be Made Away from Consumer Electronics': We're Seeing a Shake-Up of the Entire Consumer Electronics World: Some Companies Are Re-Profiling Their Ranges, While Others Are Pulling out Altogether

Magazine article Gramophone

'There's More Money to Be Made Away from Consumer Electronics': We're Seeing a Shake-Up of the Entire Consumer Electronics World: Some Companies Are Re-Profiling Their Ranges, While Others Are Pulling out Altogether

Article excerpt

Bang & Olufsen is restructuring its retail operations, Philips is escaping from audio and video, and the big Japanese brands are rethinking their positions - the shape of the consumer electronics industry is changing, and rapidly.

Even coming on the back of the recent woes of the British high street, the discovery that even upmarket audio and AV company Bang & Olufsen wasn't immune to the chill wind was something of a suprise, given that other brands in the luxury arena are apparently prospering. As the likes of Jaguar Land Rover were announcing more factories and more staff to meet demand, the Danish company--only two years younger than Gramophone--revealed plans to close 125 underperforming shops in Europe. As part of its 'Leaner, Faster, Stronger' plan, B&O will take more control of its retail operations and concentrate on emerging markets, including China and South America.

Even more radical is the step taken by Philips: it's quitting the consumer electronics business altogether. Having licensed its TV and consumer electronics brands for North America to Japanese company Funai and its TV operations to a joint venture with a Chinese company (in which it holds a minority stake), it's now turned over all its consumer electronics worldwide to Funai.

The company behind the compact cassette, the co-developer of the CD, a pioneer of home video recording and the inventor of the Digital Compact Cassette (oh well, three out of four isn't bad) is going back to where it started and concentrating its efforts on its more profitable operations: lighting and medical/healthcare equipment. Last year its healthcare operations--diversified into fields such as MRI scanners, ultrasound, nuclear medicine and the portable defibrillators found in public buildings and on trains, planes and in workplaces--had sales of 9. …

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