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Thumping Around the Horn


"Mmmmmmmm.... Guinness"


Dells HD price cut bodes poorly for consumer electronics retailers

Dell (DELL) going to mattresses to compete strictly on price for HD TV's illustrates the insane challenges facing the electronics industry; particularly those who aren't well diversified into software and/or DVDs (read: companies other than Best Buy (BBY)). The evolution of the web was a margin crusher for electronics stores before, when it was assorted non-name branded retailers willing to undercut pricing. Now that the competitive threat is coming from Dell, as opposed to local Crazy Eddie's, the "sweet spot" of high-margin television (or any other product) upgrade cycles is all but gone.

Let's put it this way, Circuit City (CC) reports in the morning and I'm reading bullish reports expecting improved gross margins. While there's plenty of meat on the bone for CC to improve operationally, much of the gains are reliant on America's much hyped upgrade to HD signals (being rolled out by the same people who were in charge of the metric system).

Circuit City had scant margins to begin with... Dell's commitment to having the lowest prices for HD sets just about sticks a fork in the idea of hi-def saving consumer electronics (if there happened to be anyone left who still thought it might).

The Street is looking for a 2-cent loss on flat to +2% same store sales from Circuit City. The latter number is a bit noisy for CC; the chain is in the process of moving most of their old, relatively small, stores into new locations (making them, in a sense, a really well funded retail start-up).

Wal-Mart Poaches Ebay's Marketing Head

Wal-Mart (WMT) continues to shuffle the management deck, today announcing that former Ebay (EBAY) Chief Marketing Officer Carter Cast will be the new President of

From a "trading" perspective, it's quite interesting that an upwardly mobile type would (seemingly) be willing to trade an options-laden Ebay career to go to Wal-Mart.

Perhaps he thinks Wal-Mart is further along the "multiple compression" path than Ebay is.

Shameless Self (And Minyanville) Promotion & Faux Scottish Wrestlers

I'll be doing Squawk box tomorrow AM. Presumably to the disappointment of Pepe and Chief Sanjay, I have no intention of telling anyone to "shut-up" during the show. Not yet, anyway. Should I be offended by someone (read: "should anyone disagree with me") I plan to spice it up a little by offering them "a nice, tall glass of Shut the (Heck) Up juice" instead of the more banal "shut-up". [NB: I'm nakedly stealing the phrase from Minyan The Rock].

It never hurts to be colorful, in addition to obnoxious.

Speaking of which, and since Pepe asked, Rowdy Roddy Piper is semi-retired from the ring now, though he has been officially welcomed back to the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) fold after a multi-month exile.

There's no word as to whether or not Rowdy Roddy is concerned over the pending birth of a Next Generation Superfly. All the better for my son's eventual Coconut Attack.

In return for this information, Pepe, could you please tell this 50% Irishman what, exactly, "Irish negotiating tactics" are? I'm sure they involve Guinness, singing, fighting and oration but I'm at a loss, beyond that.

Did you give the guy half of your house, confident that you could get it back soon?

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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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