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German invasion sparks electronics war

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12:01 CEST+02:00
An electronics war broke out on Thursday on the battlefield of Kungens Kurva in the outskirts of Stockholm. German low-price home electronics giant Mediamarkt lined up against British-owned Elgiganten to trade the first blows in a battle that could lead to the demise of one of the combatants.

Plasma televisions became the first casualties. Mediamarkt advertised cheap televisions to get punters inside on opening day and Elgiganten retaliated by undercutting the German chain's price by 1,000 kronor. Not to de outdone, Mediamarkt sent a battalion of employees over to Elgiganten to buy up the cheap televisions, Dagens Media reports.

"They got about 15 of them. The offer allows one television per person and they didn't have more than 15 people in the shop. It's good publicity when our competitor comes in to buy from us", Elgiganten's CEO Henrik Bjönnes told Dagens Media.

Consumers certainly have plenty to smile about, though the same may not be true for the warring factions. Mediamarkt's arrival "intensifies the price war in home electronics. Now Sweden has another actor, which will bring prices down", Nils Bohlin from the Swedish Research Institute of Trade tells The Local.

"Even though we are in a boom right now, prices are very low and some actor may get knocked out. It is not easy to say which one this might be."

Both the chains have huge purchasing power. Both Mediamarkt and Elgiganten's parent company DSG International (formerly Dixons Group) have stores across Europe.

Meanwhile, back at Kungens Kurva, yesterday's battle raged on. Elgiganten took to luring punters out of Mediamarkt's queue with the promise of hotdogs and fizzy drinks.

"We have staff outside Mediamarkt announcing our low prices through megaphones. And since it is difficult to move your car in the current rush we are also offering the service of a shuttle bus to our outlet", says Henrik Bjönnes to Dagens Media.

Time will tell whether shuttle buses and hotdogs are enough to dent the armour of the German giant.

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