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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Back to School Season could be big

There seems to be a lot of people smiling in electronics these days and for good reason: sales for a lot of categories are going well. Best Buy blew away the financial estimates for the most recent quarter. Dan Hutcheson, CEO of VLSI Research, says sales of electronics in first quarter represented the best first quarter since 2000, right before the dam broke. Potentially, this could be a "blowout" year, he predicted.

Steve Baker at NPD Group, meanwhile, believes the momentum will continue.

"Back to school looks to be big. It will probably surpass 2003," Baker said.

The third quarter typically is the second biggest selling season for PC makers because fo the start of school. A huge proportion of the sales for the quarter occur in the last two weeks of September. (In fact, it was during the last two weeks of September 2000 when the tech industry sort of hit its Altamont.)

Notebooks in particular will be hot. Consumers should expect more bargain pricing like the $499 Compaq notebook (from HP) offered at some stores earlier in the week. And those SUV-style notebooks with wide screens and DVD burners, which can be snapped up for $999, will drop in price too.

TVs, Baker added, are also doing well, thanks to price declines.