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Wherehouse Gets Into Discs

3 Jul, 2002 By: Jessica Wolf

Select Wherehouse Music locations have started dabbling in DVD rental and DVD hardware sales.

Recently, the 400-store Torrance, Calif.-based chain implemented $1-per-night DVD and game rentals at all of its roughly 100 Los Angeles area locations. The DVD rental service includes stores that were never part of the chain's VHS rental business.

“It's a pretty low-risk venture, because the cost-to-goods is so low,” Paul Ramaker, VP of merchandising for movies at Wherehouse, said of the company expanding its rental offerings. Rental is a business model the chain is more than familiar with after becoming a leader in the rental business during VHS's heyday, he added.

Wherehouse stores in select markets also have been carrying the starter-priced Mimtec DVD player for sale at $79.99 with the purchase of any DVD movie in the store, or for $99 without a DVD software purchase. The chain has been experimenting with hardware sales at different locations since the holidays last year, Ramaker said.Wherehouse chose the Mimtec brand DVD player based on feedback the company got while the product was on sale at Digital Wherehouse locations, he said.

Launched earlier this year, Digital Wherehouse is the company's store-within-a-store concept that offers digital electronic merchandise, DVD players, satellite equipment, home theater systems, digital cameras, PDAs and more.

“It's a very good entry-level price, and it's a quality player,” Ramaker said of the Mimtec console. It's important to open up that hardware option for shoppers, he added, because there are a lot of high-profile DVD releases that will inspire DVD player sales, like Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, and the upcoming The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.

“You can expect to see us use that hardware-software strategy more later this year,” Ramaker said.

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