LCD TV Black Friday Sales Reported Solid

by: Eric Savitz

Black Friday sales of LCD TVs looked solid, according to several Street analysts who monitored retail activity over the weekend. The implications are positive not only for the TV companies, but also the chip makers that provide them components. Here is a roundup of some of the morning commentary on the TV sector.

Steve Park, an analyst at Wedbush Morgan
, reports that “traffic and sales were strong for LCD TVs.” Park visited retails in Southern California and called various store around the U.S., and found that both traffic and sales seemed to be strong at both Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) and Circuit City (NYSE:CC). He found that customers on Friday were buying the lowest priced LCD TVs featured in promotions and flyers. He says early data points are positive for TV component companies Genesis (GNSS) and Trident (TRID). Among Park’s other takeaways:

  • There was less discounting this year on TVs from Sony, Sharp and Samsung.
  • Inventories were lean for Sony and Sharp; Samsung TVs were better stocked.
  • Low-priced PC notebooks “were generally sold out.”

Merrill Lynch’s Jeffrey Su writes that initial feedback from Black Friday “are positive for sell-through of LCD TVs. He notes that ShopperTrak estimates overall Black Friday sales were up 8.3% year over year. He notes that LCD TV inventory is 7-8 weeks, lower than a year ago, and that TV prices are “rapidly dropping to affordable levels,” with 32-inch panel pricing down 2% year to date, but retail prices down 21%, due to “a steep collapse in retailer margins.” He writes that “U.S. consumers are being increasingly selective with their purchases this holiday season against a weak macro backdrop,” but that notebooks, GPS devices and LCD TVs “are standing out.”

RBC Capital’s Mark Sue
today writes that “large size flat panel TVs seem to have been the big draw at major retailers during the weekend.”

Among the TV-related stocks, Syntax-Brillian (BRLC) is up 18 cents, or 6.1%, at $3.15; Genesis is down 8 cents at $5.19, and Trident is up 8 cents at $6.46.