Sellers spinning over new CD packaging

March 26, 1992|By Gary Graff | Gary Graff,Knight-Ridder Newspapers

The music industry's recent announcement that it will eliminate the environmentally unfriendly CD longbox package means that, within the next year, your favorite record store will look considerably different.

The end of the 5-by-12-inch cardboard container is an unqualified victory for consumers. As a package it's wasteful, tossed out after the CD is purchased. And in a rare moment of bowing to consumer wishes, music manufacturers have elected to continue using the sturdy plastic jewel box package.

This move, however, has made life difficult for retailers, who have to reconfigure their stores to fit the smaller package. It's become a heated industry issue, and at the recent National Association of Record Merchandisers convention in New Orleans, retailers spent considerable time grousing about the expense and complaining that they weren't consulted by the manufacturers.

Their hope is that the music companies, using some of the savings from no longer having to produce longboxes, will share the costs of reconfiguring the record stores. "Whatever money is saved there will probably be used to help the retailers with their costs," says Larry Bole, Midwest regional marketing manager for Warner Bros. Records.

"I doubt if it will be passed along all the way to the consumer," Mr. Bole said.

Still, most retailers are making plans without counting on help from the manufacturers.

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