Sony Sales Not Advertised; LCD Price Drop Unexpected

While virtually all major manufacturers and retail outlets offered price cuts to kick off the holiday selling season a couple of weeks ago, it turns out some of those bargain prices from Sony were not publicized in advance.

While it's not unusual for businesses (such as airlines) to hold back some of their bargains for their Web sites as a way of rewarding their respective online customers, offering big price cuts at the brick-and-mortar level (that are only applicable to unsuspecting shoppers) is somewhat uncommon. Sony rewarded both types of shoppers with price cuts Nov. 24-27.

Over the long Black Friday weekend, Sony reduced its prices by up to $900 on the 70-inch $6,000 KDS-R70XBR2 and other HD models, in both retail stores and on its Web site without any advance publicity or advertising, according to Its 50-inch $1,800 Wega KDF-50E2000 rear-projection unit was available for $500 less than the actual advertised price--if purchased within those four sales days. (By Tuesday, Nov. 28, prices had reverted back to their previous higher levels.)

A Sony official said all retailers were made aware of the fact that such price cuts were going to be offered online, and, as usual, the final prices at the store level were up to retailers themselves. Sony did not give a reason why it chose to feature the price cuts without any heads-up to consumers.

Meanwhile, in an apparently unrelated matter, price drops for LCD units from all makers this season could reach between 25 and 30 percent, thereby exceeding Sony's slightly lower projections of about 20 to 25 percent. A Sony exec said at a briefing in New York City this week that economies of scale in new 8th generation LCD factories is giving all makers, including Sony, more flexibility to set price points for LCD units and still see profits, according to published reports.