Best Buy adding Vizio to stable of TV brands

Wed Dec 19, 2012 4:11pm EST
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By Dhanya Skariachan

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Best Buy Co Inc (BBY.N: Quote) has struck a deal to sell Vizio televisions, bringing one of the most popular and aggressively priced U.S. TV brands to the world's largest consumer electronics retailer's aisles later this month.

The strategic partnership with the Irvine, California-based manufacturer comes at a time when U.S. retailers are looking to satisfy a growing consumer appetite for larger screen TVs at competitive prices.

"One of the reasons why we felt it was a good time to bring in the product now is Vizio has made some strategic investments in bringing ... very compelling, competitive and advanced large-screen TVs to market," Mike Mohan, head of Best Buy's home business group, told Reuters.

"They were able to deliver 60-inch and 70-inch TV products in the last few weeks that we believe will be compelling," he said.

Vizio already sells its wares at several of Best Buy's rivals, including warehouse clubs Costco Wholesale (COST.O: Quote), Sam's Club and BJ's Wholesale, discounters Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N: Quote), Target Corp (TGT.N: Quote) and online chain Inc (AMZN.O: Quote).

"What Best Buy brings to bear, versus the club channel and the mass merchandise channel, is a significant proficiency in selling large TVs," Mohan said on Wednesday afternoon.

In the second quarter of 2007, Vizio skyrocketed to the top by becoming the most shipped brand of flat panel HDTVs in North America, according to the manufacturer's website.

For the first 10 months of 2012, Samsung (005930.KS: Quote) had 18 percent of the U.S. TV market, with Vizio in second place with 14 percent, said Stephen Baker, an analyst with market research firm NPD.   Continued...

A Best Buy logo is seen during Thanksgiving Day in San Francisco, California, November 22, 2012. REUTERS/Stephen Lam