"Dealer cost" isn't necessarily the same for all dealers. Some buy through distributors, some get better deals due to quantity, etc. Dell may buy for $4k, while the rest of the world buys for $5k. It happens. Best Buy and Circuit City don't necessarily pay the exact same price for that 32" Sony TV.
I know what the Panasonic's wholesale pricing is, and even I'm confused by what's going on with the retail pricing of this unit. Take it from me, oferlaor, the margins are very, very thin at the numbers that have been thrown around on this thread. Dell clearly gets a quantity price break (but it isn't huge and the credit card discount further eats into some of that) as I'm sure they order several hundred units at a time. But that's not true for all the rest of the vendors, whether they're buying from Panasonic direct or through distributors (the prices from either source aren't much different, frankly).
Why any retailer (including Dell) would want to be exposed for several thousand dollars just to make a few hundred dollars is beyond me. But the guy who takes the cake is the brick and mortar retailer xorcist refers to. I can only assume that:
1. He's insane and likes making 10 cents; or 2. Like Dell, he buys huge qualities (highly unlikely); or 3. He was selling his "demo" unit and had a bit more room to maneuver; or 4. There's more to this story than xorcist is telling us -- as in, xorcist purchased other items, or install services at the same time or in the past and the dealer made it up on those transactions, or xorcist traded something and the trade was undervalued to make up for the lack of margin on the Panasonic; or 5. The dealer just wanted to get rid of it because he was dissolving his relationship with Panasonic, or he needed to raise cash, or he was going out of business or moving and didn't want to take the unit with him; or 6. The dealer didn't want to hold on to the unit because it had been previously returned for repair, or had a dead pixel, or a noisy fan.
Whatever the reason, the price is almost too good to be true. Perhaps xorcist will kick in with additional information.
Unfortunately most of the above responses were not answering your direct question - excuse me, but the keyword was 'KNOW'. I know what it was last month via the largest wholeseller in the country. It is (or was) within $407.86 of the average of the above responses.
Maybe a more important question would have been 'How many buyers negotiated a different price than advertised?'
PF (Paul) and I have discussed pricing a little in the past and I, like him, am perplexed at some of the deals out there. But, I too am convinced that there must be different pricing structures. Not good for the Ma and Pa shops out there. And I agree with Paul, at least in context, why a brick and mortar store would try to compete with internet sales!!!
If you can buy one for $5100 - $5300 and get it delivered safely, I feel you made a reasonable deal, it is worth it. I think the saying goes something like this 'Shop it to death, and/or wait for price reductions = -($ few hundred maybe), vs. Buy it now and start enjoying the experience, price = "Priceless"'
Complicated question trying to guess why the price of goods arrives at where it does in different outlets but just a couple of thoughts.
I think it was Ofer LaOr who reckoned dealers are making big margins on plasma - I wonder what everyone would consider a fair margin?
The variations in pricing reflect a very fragmented and sometimes confusing supply chain - remember 'Big Co USA division' is a separate company from 'Big Co Head Office' in Japan and when the going gets tough if the managers at Big Co USA are not seeing inventory shift they panic and will take big orders at cut down prices from cash rich companies happy to make a few (5-7) percent.
I suppose 5-7 % of 1000 sales at $4500.00 is an OK return on your capital outlay.
I wonder also if Ofer LaOr considers how many sales at big margins a dealer has to make to cover the cost of dem stock - usually sold off at very reduced prices, In today's market I may have up to six panels on dem and a few in stock - a fair outlay of capital.
To cover the buy price of a typical 42" panel for dem stock I will have to sell between 6 and 8 units before I am into profit! And when I have to keep a range of panels in stock you can soon see how many panels you have to sell and why the temptation to cut prices if kit is not shifting.
Unless as someone else pointed out I have a strong customer base who are willing to pay above the norm for quality of service!!!!
Not a thought through argument really just some thinking out loud.
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