LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - Sony Corp said flat-screen televisions, electronic readers and Blu-ray video players helped its U.S. holiday season sales top expectations, in a rare sign of encouragement for the Japanese conglomerate.
The company also introduced on Wednesday a range of products at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, including stylish new 3D TVs, and a 7-inch personal Internet device called Dash.
“Over the holiday season, Sony Electronics in the U.S. experienced year-over-year sales growth. This growth was fueled not only by our retail partners but by powerful performances by our 42 Sony Style stores, and online,” said Stan Glasgow, president and chief operating officer of Sony Electronics.
Sony had in October posted a loss for the fourth consecutive quarter, hurt by sluggish sales of its cellphones and PlayStation 3 console.
On Wednesday, Sony said its PlayStation video game console sold more than 3.8 million units worldwide during the holiday season, a 76 percent increase over the same period in the previous year.
Several electronics makers appear to be shaking off the gloom of a year ago, when the economic downturn made it hard to express optimism about sales to consumers worried about jobs and their dwindling nest eggs.
Samsung Electronics Co Ltd earlier issued an ambitious set of targets for this year’s flat-screen TV sales and announced its plan to move into the e-reader market.
“The entire consumer electronics industry faced a challenging year in 2009. There is definite reason for new hope as 2010 unfolds,” Glasgow said. “So while the holiday season went better than expected, I’m even more excited as 2010 unfolds.”
Sony said it would for the first time sell SD and microSD memory cards, in addition to cards in its own Memory Stick format.
Sony’s $199 Dash device uses a wireless home network and continuously updates information. Consumers can also watch streaming video — including movies from Netflix — on the device, which looks much like an alarm clock, and functions as one.
Sony’s PS3 announcement follows comments from Nintendo Co Ltd President Satoru Iwata that sales of its Wii console exceeded 3 million units last month in the United States, up from 2.14 million units a year earlier, potentially indicating robust holiday demand in the overall game sector.
All three game hardware makers — Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft Corp — cut their console prices or introduced a lower-priced model ahead of the holiday season, reinvigorating global demand.
Launches of blockbuster games such as Activision Blizzard Inc’s “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2” and Nintendo’s “New Super Mario Bros Wii” also helped.
Reporting by Franklin Paul; Additional reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka in Tokyo; Editing by Richard Chang