Sony, Samsung ask U.S. retailers to curb TV discounts

Bloomberg

Sony Corp. and Samsung Electronics Co. have asked U.S. retailers to maintain minimum prices for TVs to boost profitability as global demand declines.

Sony’s policy, effective last month, covers about 120 models of TVs, camcorders, audio players and tablet computers, but not Vaio computers, spokesman Keizo Masuda said Wednesday.

Samsung’s program, in place since early this year, will cover some new TV models, said spokesman Nam Ki Yung.

The move comes after TV shipments last year declined for the first time since 2004, leading to a drop in prices and record losses at Japanese manufacturers.

Sony, the world’s third-biggest TV maker, has forecast a ninth consecutive annual loss from selling TVs, while industry leader Samsung is bringing out new models and technology to charge consumers more.

Earlier this month, Sony predicted that its TV sales will decline 11 percent to 17.5 million units and will lead to an ¥80 billion loss this year.

Sony shares fell 2.1 percent to ¥1,096 on Wednesday, the lowest level since August 1980. The shares have declined 21 percent this year, compared with a 15 percent increase for Samsung.

Sony’s current policy, similar to one introduced in 2008 for digital cameras, is intended to boost retailer support for its brand, Masuda said.