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Electronics Score Big On Black Friday

Consumer electronics retailers posted strong sales over the Black Friday weekend, helped by robust demand for televisions, laptops and MP3 players.

NEW YORK (AP) β€” Consumer electronics retailers posted strong sales over the Black Friday weekend, analysts said Monday, pointing to robust demand for televisions, laptops and MP3 players.
 
ShopperTrak RCT Corp., a research group that tracks sales at mall-based stores nationwide, said retailers had a strong start to the holiday shopping season. Total sales for at least 45,000 mall-based retail outlets rose 6 percent to $8.96 billion on Friday, compared to the same day a year ago.
 
Banc of America Securities David Strasser said Black Friday was a ''home run'' for consumer electronics, with televisions, laptops, MP3 players and GPS systems as key drivers.
 
''GPS sold out almost everywhere at all price points, from what we observed and heard,'' Strasser wrote in a client note.
 
Strasser also said Circuit City Stores Inc. and Best Buy Co. were less aggressive on pricing, compared to last year. Promotions were not as widespread relative to recent years, he added.
 
Cowen & Co. analyst Jonathan Cramer said, unlike the year-ago period and the fiscal 2007 third quarter, this ''more rational'' competitive environment should ease pressure on gross margins.
 
Cramer said retailers added high-margin attachments and services to help offset moderating television prices.
 
''We believe that a far more rational pricing environment, coupled with improved execution bundling higher margin accessories, should lead to a lower rate of margin erosion relative to last year,'' Cramer wrote.
 
Cramer said specials on certain televisions lured customers to stores and said most ''doorbuster,'' or low-priced, television promotions were sold out before noon on Friday.
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