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Sony resumes online sales

By Bloomberg News Special to CNET
November 24, 1999, 4:20 p.m. PT

Sony Corp.'s Sony Electronics unit has resumed authorizing dealers for Internet sales, removing restrictions on its televisions, DVD players and camcorders.

Circuit City Stores, the No. 2 U.S. consumer-electronics chain, has been approved Web sales and delivery, as has Creative Technology's Hifi.com. Three others named as Sony Authorized Internet Dealers include closely held Crutchfield, Tweeter Home Entertainment Group and Illinois-based Abt Electronics, the largest independent dealer of Sony products in the United States.

Sony asked dealers in May to stop Internet sales of its products as it reviewed service and support issues, Sony said.

Circuit City debuted its Internet-sales operation in July featuring some Sony products, though buyers could only pick up purchases at its stores. Now the Richmond, Virginia-based will be able to ship items directly to a buyer's home or office.

"It's fair to say that people shop by brand, and that's a brand that's very attractive to people," said Josh Dare, a Circuit City spokesman. "To have the latitude to have products delivered in a variety of ways is meaningful."

Brian Levine, a Sony Electronics spokesman, said the company evaluated how its products would be sold, including customer service, repair and transaction security. He said the company initially focused on talks with traditional retailers and that it may authorize more online retailers.

Sony declined to discuss specifics of the authorization agreements. Both Hifi.com and Abt Electronics have created exclusive stores for Sony products within their Web sites.