Sony (NYSE:SNE) expects its holiday sales to be poor. That is terrible news for the consumer electronics and PC industries. Sony is a nearly perfect proxy for those sectors. It sells PCs, video games, TV screens, and digital cameras. Many of Sony’s competitors will have to gird for another harsh holiday selling season, unless the forecast from the big Japanese firm is based on a large drop in market share across most of its businesses.
Sir Howard Stringer, Sony’s CEO, was quoted by Reuters as saying “There hasnâ€™t been that turning point that many had hoped for. We are waiting for a signal that hasnâ€™t arrived.”
If Stringer is a canary in the coal mine of holiday electronics sales, it means that companies from Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) to Microsoft (NYSE:MSFT) and Nintendo to Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) may post worse-than-expected fourth quarter revenue. Analysts are guessing that American holiday retail sales will be flat to slightly down this year. High unemployment and tight credit could make those figures stunningly optimistic. Christmas numbers for 2009 could be as bad has they have been in decades.
Sony has done worse than many of its competitors over the last two years. It is still large enough and its product line is large enough that its predictions are a warning to a sector of the business world that has not begun to recover and may lag well behind much of the general economy.
Douglas A. McIntyre (247wallst.com)