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Wal-Mart to revamp electronics sections

May 12, 2010 |  9:01 pm

The world’s largest retailer is becoming even bigger.WalMart_051010_025

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is expected to announce Thursday the expansion of its electronics department to include new Blu-ray players, Internet-ready HDTVs and smart phones.

The Bentonville, Ark.-based discount giant said nearly all Wal-Mart stores would see an increase in the number of 42-inch HDTVs and more than half would see an increase in the number of 55-inch HDTVs.

A New Technology center will be introduced at 1,200 stores to showcase ultra-thin backlit and edge-lit LED TVs from brands such as LG, Samsung and Sony. The chain is also rolling out a dedicated area for pay-as-you-go, no-contract mobile broadband products.

Wal-Mart executives say the moves -- which should give rivals such as Best Buy some extra competition -- are intended to tap into consumers’ increasing interest in the latest and greatest technology products.

“People will invest in electronics devices, whether it’s their cellphone or their laptop computer or their TV,” said Kevin O’Connor, a Wal-Mart executive. “We see our customers still spending on the things they want, but there has to be value.”

The chain also said it was cutting prices on some electronics items, including $20 off a Magnavox Blu-ray disc player, $50 off a Sony e-reader and more than $100 off an LG 47-inch LED HDTV.

-- Andrea Chang

Photo: Wal-Mart will introduce New Technology centers to 1,200 stores as part of an electronics section expansion. Credit: Wal-Mart Stores Inc.