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NEW YORK-Samsung Electronics is entering the full-size refrigerator market as part of a growth strategy centered on offering retailers and consumers a single source for all home appliances.

"At Samsung, we have one goal," said Myoung Woo Lee, senior vice president and general manager of Samsung's Consumer Electronics division. "We want to be in your home. We want to be your life partner, your one-stop shopping."

Lee made his remarks during the official unveiling of the company's line of side-by-side refrigerators last week. Lee told HFN that Samsung's positioning efforts are focused on first introducing innovative products at the high end in select channels before expanding the product lines.

"And then, as we introduce medium- and low-end products, we will get into the mass market," Lee said.

Matt Mustachio, director of marketing, said the strategy is to "grow Samsung into a whole, home appliance corporation." Does that mean retailers can expect entries into other segments, such as automatic washers?

"That could be in the cards," Mustachio said.

Meanwhile, Samsung is courting retailers for limited distribution of its refrigerators.

There are three models in the line. The RES-2592DW/A is a 25-cubic-foot capacity unit with an ice and water dispenser that retails for $1,499. The RES-2792DW/A is a 26.9-cubic-foot capacity unit with an ice and water dispenser that retails for $1,799. And rounding out the assortment at $1,899 is the 26.9-cubic-foot capacity RES-2792DW/A that has an additional feature: an "energy-saving, quick- access door."

Each of the units is equipped with an energy efficient, twin-cooling system. There are two evaporators and two fans that are used to maintain "optimum temperature and humidity" in each compartment, according to Samsung. The design also reduces odors because the air is flowing separately between the ducts.

Other features include an electronic temperature control and display, spill-proof tempered-glass shelves, and an illuminated water and ice dispenser. The refrigerators are available in almond and white. The items are manufactured in South Korea and Thailand.

Samsung will be ready to ship the units by the end of August. Distribution will be limited to the Northeast, Midwest and Florida. Initial marketing support within those markets will consist of print advertising.

The company launched consumer electronics products in the United States 20 years ago.

The company has been selling refrigerators in non-U.S. markets for several years. In 1993, the company introduced its first line of microwaves.

Recently, Samsung introduced HDTV units, as well as a full line of vacuums.

"They are becoming a niche player in the high end," said Saul Gold, executive director of NATM, a national buying group with members that include BrandsMart U.S.A. and ABC Warehouse. "The introduction of these [high-end refrigerators] makes sense, especially when you consider they are shipping them from overseas."

Gold said it should be interesting to see how Samsung grows the line, as well as their total-home appliance strategy.

"And with these high-end units, I think it's fabulous," Gold added. "We need the competition here."
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Author:Zaczkiewicz, Arthur
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 28, 1999
Next Article:NEWS BRIEFS.

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