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TK's MORNING BUZZ: Retail's Switch to DVD Is Happening Even Quicker Than Expected

11 Dec, 2000 By: Thomas K. Arnold

I got my first look in nearly a year at a Suncoast Motion Picture Co. video sellthrough store last night, and despite the explosive success of DVD I was surprised at how thorough the chain is transitioning from cassette to disc.

DVDs dominated the main aisles of the store, with cassettes relegated to the sides. Signage, too, appears to steer customers to the expansive selection of DVD in the store. It reminds me of a visit I paid to a Tower Records store over the weekend, the music portion of which is dominated by CDs while audiocassettes are hanging bravely onto the sides.

I knew this was going to happen, but it's happened much quicker than even I, a diehard DVD backer, thought it would.

The other thing that impressed me about Suncoast is the wealth of movie memorabilia, from the hottest of the hot--Austin Powers dolls, X-Men action figures, Grinch everything--to more esoteric stuff like the terrifying puppets from Full Moon Entertainment's 10-year-old Puppetmaster series to a variety of monsters from obscure horror flicks.

The store is inviting and well laid out, and appears to have as much product merchandise set up as mini-destinations--neat little sections, well-stocked and cheery, such as the holiday movie section--as it does to snag the impulse buyer.

And the "dump bins" in front that have become an obligatory part of any video store, rental or otherwise, are a lot more intriguing than the bins of used cassettes that greet visitors to Blockbuster Video and Hollywood Video stores. They're filled with a variety of marked-down product, mostly memorabilia, ideal for stuffing stockings.

I know Best Buy, having announced its intent to purchase giant Musicland Stores Corp., plans a major makeover of the latter chain's mall stores, primarily Sam Goody music outlets. Best Buy is planning to add consumer electronics, mostly digital, to the core inventory of music, and speculation is that DVD software will be ramped up as well.

I sure hope they leave Suncoast alone, though. From the looks of things--and the crowds of people who were there even though it was nearly 7 p.m. on a Sunday--this is one retailer that's doing everything right.

Comments? Contact TK directly at:TKArnold@aol.com

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