Comcast, Sony to open jointly owned retail store
Comcast Corp. is dipping its toe into high-end electronics retailing. On Tuesday, the cable giant will open the first jointly branded Sony-Comcast store in the lower-level concourse of the Comcast Center.
Comcast Corp. is dipping its toe into high-end electronics retailing.
On Tuesday, the cable giant will open the first jointly branded Sony-Comcast store in the lower-level concourse of the Comcast Center.
The store will showcase top-of-the-line Sony products, such as superthin TVs, and cutting-edge Comcast services, such as superfast Internet access.
For now, plans call for one store, which will be called Sony Style Comcast Labs. Both companies said that there could be other locations, but that they would wait to see how this one did.
The store is the final unfinished piece of Comcast's new corporate headquarters and will complement the huge video wall in the lobby, chief executive officer Brian L. Roberts said.
"There will be a labs aspect of the store, so we can give our hometown a sneak peek of what's coming next," Roberts said.
Sony has about 40 Style stores in the United States, including one in King of Prussia. As much about marketing as they are about sales, the stores are designed for shoppers who might not be comfortable with electronics.
People can browse or use Sony's latest products and ask questions of the staff, said Mike Fasulo, executive vice president of Sony in the United States. Products can be purchased in the store or ordered online.
The goal is to "demystify technology," Fasulo said.
Comcast now sells its services in about 5,000 retail stores, including Wal-Marts, Best Buys, and Targets. A person buying a new flat-panel TV, for example, can also buy high-definition TV services from Comcast.
The company has been reaching out to consumer-electronics firms, as well. A year ago, Roberts was a headliner at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the industry's signature trade show in the United States.
Comcast says it believes it is important to tighten its sometimes fractious relationship with consumer-electronics manufacturers as different devices - phones, televisions, and computers - begin to communicate, or converge, inside the home.
The Sony Style Comcast Labs store will be accessible from Suburban Station, but it will not be visible from the street. And then there is the issue of what to do after a big-ticket purchase.
"You can't carry a TV away from the Comcast Center like you could from the King of Prussia mall," Roberts said.