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Old 02-03-2013, 13:14
JulesandSand
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The two Sony Centres closest to me are closing down soon, I hear the one in Glasgow is closed.

I was speaking to the owner of the oldest (and second largest SC) in the UK yesterday - he is having to re-jig his premises and now sells white goods in a separate section, is adding a non-Sony area where he will sell products by Bose, Samsung, Sonos, Yamaha etc.

He says he couldn't survive selling Sony products alone and that Sony UK's turnover has dropped from 1.3bn to 300m.

Once an innovative company, they really have dropped the ball in recent years.

Still I'm looking forward to seeing their 4K TVs.
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Old 02-03-2013, 13:19
ianradioian
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Gone the way of most of the electronics firms now, under the Chinese onslaught, I shoud imagine. Even Philips have sold off vast chunks of electronic markets as most of it is from Turkey or China now.
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Old 02-03-2013, 13:40
Nigel Goodwin
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The two Sony Centres closest to me are closing down soon, I hear the one in Glasgow is closed.

I was speaking to the owner of the oldest (and second largest SC) in the UK yesterday - he is having to re-jig his premises and now sells white goods in a separate section, is adding a non-Sony area where he will sell products by Bose, Samsung, Sonos, Yamaha etc.

He says he couldn't survive selling Sony products alone and that Sony UK's turnover has dropped from 1.3bn to 300m.

Once an innovative company, they really have dropped the ball in recent years.

Still I'm looking forward to seeing their 4K TVs.
First off - Sony Centres are nothing whatsoever to do with Sony, they are privately owned and run - many of them don't survive very long, as Panasonic Centres don't either

But there's no money in selling TV's, both Sony and Panasonic lose money on every TV they sell - where you can make a living is selling white goods, hence his move to add white goods. Notice that Panasonic also now sell washing machines, an obvious move moving to a more viable market.
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Old 02-03-2013, 13:48
XxBlaKOuTZxX
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Do u think Sony or Panasonic will ever abandon the tv market ?. with the onslaught from LG and Samsung i mean.
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Old 02-03-2013, 14:19
JulesandSand
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First off - Sony Centres are nothing whatsoever to do with Sony, they are privately owned and run - many of them don't survive very long, as Panasonic Centres don't either

But there's no money in selling TV's, both Sony and Panasonic lose money on every TV they sell - where you can make a living is selling white goods, hence his move to add white goods. Notice that Panasonic also now sell washing machines, an obvious move moving to a more viable market.
I know that - note I said owner in the OP - but Sony dictate what can and can't be sold in the SCs

Back in the day before LCD TVs I bought Panasonic Plasma TVs from said SC. As soon as Sony produced flat screen TVs they were forbidden from selling the Panasonics.
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Old 02-03-2013, 14:40
Nigel Goodwin
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I know that - note I said owner in the OP - but Sony dictate what can and can't be sold in the SCs

Back in the day before LCD TVs I bought Panasonic Plasma TVs from said SC. As soon as Sony produced flat screen TVs they were forbidden from selling the Panasonics.
There are certain restrictions you agree to if you want to be a Sony Centre - as I recall you are allowed to sell other makes, but only a VERY limited amount.

I can't remember the exact details, but we had them as it was something we considered, but dismissed - there didn't seem any particular advantage to it?.
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Old 02-03-2013, 14:43
Nigel Goodwin
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Do u think Sony or Panasonic will ever abandon the tv market ?. with the onslaught from LG and Samsung i mean.
Both Sony and Panasonic keep threatening to pull out of making TV's.

Samsung/LG make lower quality cheaper sets, and make money on them - the higher quality construction of Panasonic/Sony mean they lose money on theirs.

Should Panasonic/Sony reduce their quality in order to compete?, and if they did what would be the point in buying them?.

It's obviously a BIG problem.
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Old 02-03-2013, 14:49
JulesandSand
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According to my SC friend, they are going to concentrate on higher-end TVs and become more of niche manufacturer in the TV market (Sony that is) - in his words, like Porsche in the car market. If true it's an admission that they can't compete with the Korean makers.

I hope that strategy works - I think Sony TVs are the best LCDs out there and, as I said, I'm looking forward to seeing the 4K sets.
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Old 02-03-2013, 16:00
Nigel Goodwin
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If true it's an admission that they can't compete with the Korean makers.
More a question of they aren't prepared to make sets of as poor a quality as the Koreans

It would also mean the end of all Sony Centres - at least as they are - the only way they could approach been viable would be to allow unrestricted sales of other makes.
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Old 02-03-2013, 17:43
mooghead
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Its nothing to do with Sony products, its that selling retail on the High Street is antiquated. The products are more expensive due to overheads not present by selling on the internet.

It really is that simple
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Old 02-03-2013, 17:53
David (2)
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i guess a lot of people are happy with buying a tv over the internet without knowing what the picture is like before they get it.

The rest of us will end up with that cheap range of Cello tv from the supermarket.
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Old 02-03-2013, 17:55
JulesandSand
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Its nothing to do with Sony products, its that selling retail on the High Street is antiquated. The products are more expensive due to overheads not present by selling on the internet.

It really is that simple
Sony products are sold all over the internet so that doesn't explain the huge drop in turnover.
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Old 02-03-2013, 18:32
mooghead
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Sony products are sold all over the internet so that doesn't explain the huge drop in turnover.
That is because people tend to buy the biggest sets they can afford which are usually cheap tat. Size over quality.
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Old 02-03-2013, 22:58
Chris Frost
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Sony's plan to be a boutique brand is a nice idea but surely that's what Sony Centres are already? A showcase for the "best of the brand". Err.... hello....if that's not working now then what are they going to do so different in the future? That grass isn't as green as they think either. Ask B&O. I know of several sites that have closed for that brand. Also ask Pioneer and Fujitsu which were both considered to be premium quality products.

The rise of the 'net and the increasing dominance of the supermarkets really hasn't helped the TV manufacturing and retailing industries. I also strongly believe that the abolition of RRPs has been counter-productive; and so has legislation that prevents manufacturers channelising their products. The free-for-all that followed has been bad for consumer choice.
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Old 02-03-2013, 23:02
edEx
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Sony Electronics is in the middle of a complete overhaul. TBH it's long overdue and the current statements they are making finally seem to indicate that the company now has a direction. If that means slimming down the consumer product line in order to focus then that's what they have to do.
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Old 03-03-2013, 02:09
jjne
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I was speaking to the owner of the oldest (and second largest SC) in the UK yesterday - he is having to re-jig his premises and now sells white goods in a separate section, is adding a non-Sony area where he will sell products by Bose, Samsung, Sonos, Yamaha etc.
This is nothing new.

The local Sony Centre (now defunct) sold Akai and Kenwood stereo equipment as far back as 1987.

And I remember the owner candidly telling me that, at the specific range I was looking at at the time, the Akai separates system he was selling for slightly less than the Sony, was better-built and had superior sound quality for the same price. He was correct on both counts.

It was interesting actually that the guy was less inclined to slavishly recommend Sony than the Dixons guy down the road

Sony Europe's problem is that they've copied the other guys and plunged downmarket, albeit not to quite the same degree. The equipment they sell in Japan is of a much higher quality than that sold here; most is still made in Japan, is significantly more expensive than much of the competition and they still sell things like high-end hifi equipment with all-aluminium construction.

Here it's just generic, often Chinese-engineered and completely unremarkable brown goods. Yes, their TVs may be a cut above some other manufacturers, but some of the audio gear in particular is tat -- there's no other word for it.

I recently fixed up a Sony micro system for a friend, about two years old and the CD laser had packed up. That in itself isn't particularly unusual and the player was using the perfectly decend KSS213 series mech. But I was having a root around and noticed that the PSU was of very poor quality, and one or two of the (Chinese) capacitors were already starting to bulge -- I swapped them out as a matter of course.

Then I looked at the mainboard, proudly stamped with its manufacturer ID ... "AKI Digital". Oops.

AKI are a small Chinese DVD player manufacturer who also make cheap stereo gear. So not only are Sony selling tat as their own (in line with everyone else), but they're using third-tier garbage merchants in the process. Not good at all -- I'd expect that from Bush, not Sony.

(Granted, I think this thing only set the lad back about 40 from Argos, but even so, it's not what you expect from a premium manufacturer).
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Old 03-03-2013, 11:04
Orbitalzone
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It makes sense for Sony to outsource their cheap crap priced products to a third party, why waste your own production time making loss making products when you can get someone else to do it for you?

I think the only way Sony and Panasonic will survive is to stop trying to compete with all the crap budget brands and the lower end Korean products and concentrate on mid to high end products that some people will happily pay a premium for. It may not work but their current strategy of selling to all markets isn't either.

The Japanese are hell bent on maintaining market share regardless of of whether it makes them money or not. For decades they've put market position ahead of making profits, just so Sony is number 1 or such like.
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Old 03-03-2013, 12:08
Pink Knight
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i guess a lot of people are happy with buying a tv over the internet without knowing what the picture is like before they get it.

The rest of us will end up with that cheap range of Cello tv from the supermarket.
Alot of the time TV's by a supposed good brand around 26 inch or smaller are rebranded "cheap" ones aren't they. ?
I have LG and Sony and have been happy with both.
I tend to get the cheapest good TV I can and make sure the settings are correct, i.e not the factory ones.
My only worry is how long they last before they get a fault. How are Samsung ones these days ?
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Old 03-03-2013, 13:11
Nigel Goodwin
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Sony's plan to be a boutique brand is a nice idea but surely that's what Sony Centres are already? A showcase for the "best of the brand".
No, that's not what Sony Centres are - they HAVE to stock the entire Sony range, and at specific stock levels as well.

You can't 'cherry pick' what you want to stock.
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Old 03-03-2013, 14:47
Chris Frost
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No, that's not what Sony Centres are - they HAVE to stock the entire Sony range, and at specific stock levels as well.

You can't 'cherry pick' what you want to stock.
Last time I worked in a Sony centre...and granted, that's a long time ago... it did indeed carry the full range... and that included the premium ES Hi-Fi range, ProFeel TV, SuperBeta, Pro Walkman and the top of the range camcorder in addition to the standard ranges. Hence it was a "showcase for the best in brand". Other local retailers didn't carry all the top-end gear.

People would walk in to that Sony centre expecting to see the entire range, including the high-end stuff.

Are you saying that Sony centres still carry the full range, and yet somehow that is now considered something different than "a showcase for the best in brand"?
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Old 03-03-2013, 14:51
Nigel Goodwin
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Last time I worked in a Sony centre...and granted, that's a long time ago... it did indeed carry the full range... and that included the premium ES Hi-Fi range, ProFeel TV, SuperBeta, Pro Walkman and the top of the range camcorder in addition to the standard ranges. Hence it was a "showcase for the best in brand". Other local retailers didn't carry all the top-end gear.

People would walk in to that Sony centre expecting to see the entire range, including the high-end stuff.

Are you saying that Sony centres still carry the full range, and yet somehow that is now considered something different than "a showcase for the best in brand"?
It's a 'showcase' for everything - not just 'best in brand', so I don't see as that distinction has any meaning?.
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Old 03-03-2013, 18:25
Chris Frost
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It's a 'showcase' for everything - not just 'best in brand', so I don't see as that distinction has any meaning?.
I never said just the best in brand. I guess you can't see how it's possible to carry the range but make a special feature of the premium products. Oh well. Never mind eh?
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Old 04-03-2013, 04:12
jjne
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It makes sense for Sony to outsource their cheap crap priced products to a third party, why waste your own production time making loss making products when you can get someone else to do it for you?

I think the only way Sony and Panasonic will survive is to stop trying to compete with all the crap budget brands and the lower end Korean products and concentrate on mid to high end products that some people will happily pay a premium for. It may not work but their current strategy of selling to all markets isn't either.

The Japanese are hell bent on maintaining market share regardless of of whether it makes them money or not. For decades they've put market position ahead of making profits, just so Sony is number 1 or such like.
Absolutely. The mere fact that Sony are even selling sub-50 stereos is damaging their brand reputation. Such devices don't even start being acceptable until they hit around 100 or so!

The like of Hitachi and Toshiba have ruined what were once solid reputations by going downmarket, and Sony are following the same path. If you can't compete at a certain price point, don't sell there.

Or at least, if you're going to get third parties to make parts of your range, get decent companies to do your bidding.

For example when Tosh were selling CD players in the 1980s, they badged up mid-range Philips players. At least Philips at the time were comparable to Tosh in terms of overall build quality and market position.

The fact that the Korean products are actually a better bet than most of the "Japanese" brand-names in 2013 (most of whom are still very much in business) is a damning indictment really.

Why is it that when they go for rebadged gear, they go bottom of the barrel? There are Korean companies which make reasonable TVs for example (comparable to LG) but don't sell many in Europe (Humax, Daewoo -- yes they're still around), the German Technisat (actually Technisat gear tends to be really very solid), and other fairly good smaller manufacturers, but no they have to sign up to the cheap Turkish producers.

I know that the answer is cost, but surely if the aim is to keep your name recognised as a placeholder (and I'm thinking of Toshiba and Sharp in particular here as they both have higher-end ranges they manufacture themselves) it would be a better idea to go with one of these slightly higher-positioned manufacturers, even if it means that your sets aren't all that competitive?
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Old 04-03-2013, 08:54
Nigel Goodwin
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For example when Tosh were selling CD players in the 1980s, they badged up mid-range Philips players. At least Philips at the time were comparable to Tosh in terms of overall build quality and market position.
Not at all, Philips have NEVER had a reputation for decent build quality, nor reliability.


The fact that the Korean products are actually a better bet than most of the "Japanese" brand-names in 2013 (most of whom are still very much in business) is a damning indictment really.

Why is it that when they go for rebadged gear, they go bottom of the barrel? There are Korean companies which make reasonable TVs for example (comparable to LG) but don't sell many in Europe (Humax, Daewoo -- yes they're still around), the German Technisat (actually Technisat gear tends to be really very solid), and other fairly good smaller manufacturers, but no they have to sign up to the cheap Turkish producers.
LG have also bought and badged Turkish TV's
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Old 04-03-2013, 10:37
soulboy77
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Its nothing to do with Sony products, its that selling retail on the High Street is antiquated. The products are more expensive due to overheads not present by selling on the internet.

It really is that simple
Sony Centre shops no only have the overheads of 'bricks & mortar' but they also don't seem to be able to offer discounts on products. When I was looking to buy a top of the range Sony TV and Blu-ray player the salesman looked at me like I was an alien when I asked what deal he could do. Yet with all the independents and specialist hi-fi shops I've used over the years there is always a deal to be done.
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