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Sony Closes Opens New Prototype Store

Consumer Reports News: April 05, 2011 10:48 AM

If you've enjoyed browsing through Sony Style showroom stores to check out the latest gear from the company, you may have to drive a bit farther to find one. According to industry trade magazine TWICE, Sony has closed 11 of its locations—but not a new prototype store that it has just opened in Century City, CA.

The closings, which affect stores in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, leave the company with 29 standard Sony locations and 16 outlet stores. As part of the move, the remaining Sony Style stores—and the Sony Style website—are being rebranded simply as Sony, and the outlets become Sony Factory Outlet locations.

While standard Sony Style stores are being closed, the company just last week unveiled a new prototype store located in the Westfield Century City mall in California. The store has a larger footprint than other Sony stores and an open floor-plan, where visitors can take products for hands-on test drives. The new store will carry a more comprehensive range of Sony products, including product prototypes such as the Sony RayModeler, a 360-degree display capable of projecting holographic-style 3D images.

In a press statement announcing the new concept store, a Sony executive called it "a significant step in building a blueprint for future Sony stores, both in the U.S. and around the world." It's unclear, though, whether the company will be rolling out any new concept stores in the near future.

James K. Willcox

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