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Season for Consumer Electronics Promos

Insight Media reports on the holiday selling season -- Electronics retailers ran scared this year, and - as it often does - running scared paid off. The result was a decent season that ended strong thanks to last-minute shoppers, a late Chanukah, and buoyant Internet sales.

Electronics retailers were justifiably worried about high gas prices, high consumer indebtedness, and aggressive selling and early promotions from Wal-Mart. They responded with earlier advertising, extended selling hours, and larger discounts -- and they promoted gift cards with a vengeance.

The consumer electronics industry helped with some genuinely hot products: flat-screen TVs, iPods and other MP3 players, and satellite radios. The result was pretty good sales volume, but all those promotions were costly. Margins were low; still, it was widely agreed that low prices were the key to decent sales. "A lot of the hot items are lower margin," said Scott Tilghman, an analyst at Soleil Securities. "It was an OK year, not a boom, not a bust," said Michael Niemira, chief economist at the International Council of Shopping Centers.

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