Sony Electronics wants its customers plugged into the latest technology and entertainment. The company is the largest unit of Sony Corporation of America, the holding company for Sony Corporation's US-based electronics and entertainment businesses. Sony Corporation of America's consumer electronics unit makes and markets products to tap into Sony's music, films, games, and other businesses. The electronics arm sells PCs (the Sony VAIO) and their peripherals, as well as TVs, VCRs, DVD and MP3 players, digital cameras, camcorders, CD players, and car audio items. The company's also a retailer and operates about 60 Sony Style retail shops in the US, mostly in California, Texas, and Florida.
Sony Style, the company's retail store concept, is concentrating on covering the top 10 US markets. Unlike its flagship stores, the new format focuses more on selling electronics than on showcasing them. Located in upscale shopping malls, the stores target women.
Representing some 45% of its parent's overall 2010 revenue, Sony's electronics business has been slumping thanks to a global economic downturn. In the US, its business logged equally disappointing sales overall. While the company happily boosted sales of its Bravia LCD TVs (its largest product segment), other products in Sony's stable faced a losing streak; these include Handycam video cameras, VAIO PCs, and Cyber-shot compact digital cameras. The downturn in the US economy and intense competition from rivals has Sony looking forward to a turnaround in the US.
The economic slump has led to retrenchment in the US market where Sony has ceased operations at its Sony Magnetic Products manufacturing plant in Dothan, Alabama, in 2010, and plans to consolidate production in Japan. The shutdown resulted in the loss of about 300 jobs at the plant, which made consumer and data storage magnetic tapes, coating materials for optical discs, and other products.
To expand video-integration capabilities for its enterprise customers, Sony Electronics in January 2010 acquired Convergent Media Systems, based in Georgia. Sony integrated Convergent into its broadcast and professional products business.
Selling off product lines where it's not a top expert, Sony in 2009 shed all the assets related to its static random access memory (SRAM) products. GSI Technology, which provides high-performance SRAM items primarily for networking and telecommunications equipment, acquired Sony's SRAM line for more than $5 million in cash, with $1.7 million to follow based on product inventory. Sony also stands to generate additional payments from GSI based on the deal for up to two more years.
The company plugged a new chief into the executive suite in 2010. Phil Molyneux, who has logged more than two decades at Sony, most recently at Sony's European electronics operation, became Sony Electronics' president and COO. He filled the spot left by Stan Glasgow, who took over as senior advisor for the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group at Sony Corporation of America in addition to chairman at Sony Electronics.
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