Sony UK Buys into Irish Sony Centres

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Sony UK has made the fairly bold move (given the current climate) of buying itself a “multimillion euro” stake in six Sony Centre shops in Ireland.

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Word comes via the Sunday Business Post that the deal actually involved Sony and HiFi Corner, which owns six Sony Centres in Ireland. It’s long been the case that the Sony Centre shops have operated largely without direct influence from Sony, though it looks as though that’s just undergone a fairly pronounced shift. With the deal, Sony now has a direct stake in six of the 22 Sony Centre shops in the country.

It’s hard to puzzle out the move from Sony’s point of view. As the HiFi Corner’s managing director, Brian Sheen, points out to himself, “Like everyone elsein the sector, our business has been down by 20 per cent and more in recent times. It’s a very challenging environment at the moment, and rent is also an issue for us, like many other retailers.”

With hard times all around, Sony could well see an investment now as a relatively cheap way to make sure it has a stake in Sony Centre shops in Ireland with an eye to the economy bouncing back in the not too distant future. It’s certainly optimistic, but that optimism could well pay dividends later on.

It’s also important to keep in mind that 2010 is to be a big year for Sony, with the company planning to launch 3D displays in a big way, having claimed during summer that it intended to fully roll out a range of 3D capable HDTVs over the course of next year. Similarly, the recent price drop of Sony’s PlayStation 3 console is seeing it perform far better at retail than it had before, with Sony itself estimating one million consoles sold in the 22 days immediately after the price drop.

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