STORE SPACES

Survey: LEDs gain over fluorescents

BY Marianne Wilson

Yorba Linda, Calif. — For the first time, lighting professionals expect to install more LED than fluorescent fixtures over the coming year, according to the fourth annual lighting by Precision-Paragon [P2].

When asked what is the dominant lighting technology they expect to install in 2014, 49% of respondents selected LED, and 46% indicated fluorescent. Asked the same question last year, 26% selected LED, and 68% indicated fluorescent.

“Our industry has seen steady growth in LED lighting performance and sales in recent years,” said Joe Martin, VP and general manager, [P2]. “Picking the right technology is an important part of any lighting retrofit, and LED technology has advanced to the point that it can compete with fluorescent lighting in many applications.”

Survey respondents indicated that in 2013, LEDs accounted for 37% of the fixtures they installed. That’s up from 27% in 2012, and 13% in 2011.

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STORE SPACES

Sony to open dedicated in-store shops in 350 Best Buy stores

BY Marianne Wilson

San Diego — Best Buy is updating its home theater departments with in-store Sony shops. Beginning in May, Sony Electronics will start opening “Sony Experience at Best Buy” shops at approximately 350 Best Buy locations nationwide.

"The Sony Experience will give consumers a shopping experience unlike anything before," said Mike Mohan, Best Buy’s chief merchandising officer. "Our newly transformed home theater areas will, for the first time, allow customers to test, try and experience how all of the Sony products work together."

The dedicated shops will showcase a comprehensive selection of Sony’s TV line-up, from entry level HDTVs to premium 4K Ultra HD TVs. The retail space will highlight a full 4K Ultra HD solution for consumers, including Sony’s 4K Ultra HD TVs, 4K Ultra HD Media Players (FMP-X1 and FMP-X10) and 4K HandyCam camcorder (FDR-AX100), home theater sound solutions including sound bars, gaming solutions showcasing PlayStation 4 and more.

The shops will offer consumers demonstration capabilities and an immersive shopping experience designed to increase confidence in purchasing new technologies. Using touch-screens, visitors can control and engage with various content demonstrations on the TV wall.

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STORE SPACES

Lumber Liquidators profit falls amid costs; to open 35-40 stores

BY Dan Berthiaume

Toano, Va. – Net income at Lumber Liquidators decreased 13.2% to $13.7 million during the first quarter of fiscal 2014, compared to $15.8 million in the same period the prior year. During fiscal 2014, the retailer intends to open 35 to 40 new store locations in the expanded showroom format and remodel 25 to 30 existing stores in the expanded showroom format.

During the quarter, net sales increased 6.9% to $246.3 million, from $230.4 million. Same-store sales dropped 0.6%. Selling, general and administrative expenses increased, negatively impacting net income, and Lumber Liquidators estimated unusually severe winter weather adversely impacted net sales in as many as 135 of its 331 store locations in operation during the quarter.

Looking ahead, Lumber Liquidators forecasts net sales of $1.15 billion-$1.2 billion and same-stores growth in the mid-to-high single digits for fiscal 2014.

“Like so many, our team was frustrated by the severity, scale and duration of the harsh winter and the adverse impact it had on our net sales,” said Robert M. Lynch, president and CEO. “Our customers generally follow a long purchase cycle, which we believe was either interrupted or completely suspended due to the unusually severe winter weather. However, as conditions generally became more seasonal in mid-March, customer demand increased. The key strategic initiatives we have implemented over the last two years have strengthened our operations, and we believe we are more capable than ever of serving customers who postponed their flooring purchase in the first quarter."

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