In an excellent article, Barry Ritholtz writes:
"I speak with my friend, who owns a very high end Audio Video store on Park Avenue. The equipment is gorgeous, and if you ever want a pair of $60,000 speakers, this is the place.
I ask: How's biz?
"Way way off from last year. We typically see abotu $10-15k in walk in business, plus all the installs we do. Some of those are $100k plus jobs [I'm thinking -- 100k? Nice stereo!]. This year, we are seeing $3k a day walk in business. There are occasional spikes, but its nothing remotely like last year."
I ask: What about all the flat panel displays on sale?
"Not our clientele. We only carry super premium -- Pioneer Elite [which is the only tv that has ever made me weep, its so gorgeous] and Fujitsu; Our customers are not buying the $999 Panasonic to go with their $30k in Krell Audio and $20k in Kef speakers [hmmm, drool].
He blames -- wait for it -- the housing slow down. He was doing so many installs into new or renovated condos, Hampton homes and Long Island / Westchester /CT / NJ residences, he could barely keep up. He was booked months in advance. Today? "We can do an install in 2 weeks."
Full article here.
This is fascinating. I hadn't made the connection between the intense price competition in flat panel TVs (ie. Best Buy's disappointing results and Circuit City's earnings miss) with the housing slow-down.
People I know who are moving into new homes are installing 3 to 6 new flat panel TVs.
Now the linkage is clear...