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Abt Electronics Predicts Robust Holiday Sales Season Following 2004 Election Distraction

GLENVIEW, IL, NOVEMBER 8, 2004 — Despite an anticipated slowdown in retail sales due in large part to the national election, Abt Electronics and Appliances, a leading independent consumer electronics and appliance retailer predicts a robust 2004 holiday season based on its improved October and first week of November sales both in store and on-line. Abt compared its 2003 same period sales versus 2004.

"While many Democrats and Republicans across the country were preoccupied with the election, many more people than expected found time to jump start their holiday shopping this season," said Michael Abt, President, Abt Electronics & Appliances.

Since mid-October and this first full week of November Abt's consumer electronic sales are reflecting a much stronger pre-holiday pace. "We typically see our seasonal holiday sales really jump the second and third week of November with the pace dramatically increasing each week until the final week of December," said Abt. "This year, the pre-holiday sales at our store as well as our Abt.com website have definitely started earlier. Our customers are telling us that they would rather be certain to get some hot products early rather than hope for last minute pricing changes and risk being empty handed due to product shortfalls."

According to Abt, customers often prepare a "must-have" list of items. "This year's 'Hot Gift List' includes Apple iPods, Toshiba portable DVD players, and digital cameras. These products are flying off the shelves and it seems as though no matter how hard we try to keep our inventories well stocked, we wouldn't be surprised to see short supply as Christmas approaches."

With two years of consecutive price drops on LCD, plasma, and DLP TV's over 30" Abt predicts this to be a record year for television sales. "We expect to sell 20 to 30 percent more units this season and at the current rate of sales 50 percent more will be shipped in November than we anticipated," Abt said.

Each holiday season Abt reports they discover a hot product that becomes a big success of the season. Abt explains, "We've been surprised by the strong interest and sales of digital radio and GPS navigation systems. It's too early to tell if these items represent the 'hot sleepers' yet but in three weeks we'll know for sure," Abt said.

Abt sells products in all 50 states through its popular and award-winning website, Abt.com. "We are seeing brisk online product sales throughout the nation but especially in Texas, Florida and the West Coast," Abt said. "We are learning our existing online customers are serving as a growing referral source," he said.

Some retail analysts are predicting a weak holiday season as a result of high energy prices. "So far we can't report any sales contraction as a result of consumer concerns over gas prices. But if gas prices hit $5.00 a gallon, customers around the country will all be shopping the electronic highway!" Abt said.

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