By Matthew Henry

SYDNEY: Pioneer has acknowledged the key role played by Australian mass market electrical retailers in its plasma business by scrapping its onerous distribution restrictions for the new LX product range, which could have favoured premium specialist dealers.

Pioneer reevaluated the original ‘tiered’ distribution strategy first announced in September in a move to ensure plasma sales were not disadvantaged by having fewer mass market retailers stocking the products, the company said today.

“In recent years a large proportion of Pioneer’s flat panel sales have come from mass retailers and after some consideration we have decided to relax the distribution of the LX range in order to ensure all our retailers are on a level playing field,” Pioneer Electronics Australia spokesperson, Michael Broadhurst, told

“Everyone can now have the full range, however, there are still restrictions in place.”

Pioneer’s LX or ‘luxury’ range consists of nine products including Blu-ray players, plasma panels and high-end audio receivers, all targeting the discerning buyer.

Just 75 of Pioneer’s approximately 500 Australian retailers will stock the full range of LX series products and around 130 will stock a limited range. But the new distribution model means potentially all 130 LX dealers could stock a full range, provided they meet ranging and merchandising standards set out by the company.

“This product range is certainly not for everyone,” said Pioneer national accounts manager – home entertainment group, Jo Bottero, at the a media demonstration of the LX range held in Sydney today.

To become an LX dealer a retailer must commit to stocking a range which includes the BDP-LX70A Blu-ray player, the VSX-LX60 receiver and the DVR-LX60A DVD recorder.

“This is a high-end range and we require retailers to stock a minimum core range to become LX dealers,” said Bottero.

“Some stores will either not have the space or a customer who will pay $11,999 for a 60-inch plasma.

“As we have shown this afternoon, the LX products work so well together and work best as a package, and we want retailers to be able to merchandise and demonstrate these products as a package,” she said.

Retailers on board with the LX program include selected stores from major groups such as Harvey Norman, JB Hi-Fi, Clive Peeters, David Jones and Myer, along with audio specialists around the country.

“We will see stock roll out from now until December and January,” said Bottero.

“We will ramp up our advertising and we are already seeing some catalogue support for the LX range from some key retailers. This range is about synergy and having products that work well together and with the LX range we are offering a total high-end solution.”