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VHS Waning, But Holding On, at a Local Target

17 Jan, 2005 By: Stephanie Prange

Several months ago, I wrote a column about the surprising resilience of VHS cassettes at a local Target. Well, post holidays that changed. The same Target's VHS section shrank, making room for multidisc DVD sets, including the popular genre of TV DVD. Only three small sections included VHS, much of it kids' stuff.

I counted three out of 20 sections devoted to VHS, or about 15 percent of the shelf space in the pre-recorded video department. At my earlier visit a few months ago, the count was about 20 percent of shelf space.

It seems the cassette is becoming marginalized even at a mass merchant that has held onto it for some time. Exploding — and more lucrative — DVD genres such as TV DVD have taken a significant bite out of its sections. How long can the cassette hold on when toilet paper has a bigger store footprint? When the sections shrink, title selection follows, frustrating consumers and pushing them to DVD.

The next big holiday gift-giving season — Easter — is coming up. My bet is that after that holiday, the sections will shrink even more — and may even go away. I'll keep my eye on it, because once the mass merchants jettison VHS, the cassette is truly doomed.

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