SanDisk Expands Low-Cost Storage Retailers

From SanDisk’s press release:

SanDisk Corporation today announced that it has passed the 10,000-store threshold in its rapidly expanding efforts to offer inexpensive Shoot & Store flash memory cards to consumers in places where they shop frequently. Rite Aid and Kmart are among the latest retailers to begin selling the line, joining hundreds of other drug and grocery storefronts.

Rite Aid Category Manager Steve Lund said that sales of Shoot & Store cards have been “very encouraging. They are part of our strategy to build consumer awareness of Rite Aid as a one-stop center for digital cameras, flash memory cards and print processing.” At Kmart, the line expands the retailer’s ongoing commitment to digital photography products. Also adding the cards are several major supermarket chains.

Analysts say that momentum is growing for budget-priced cards that are widely available and can be used to archive images, just like traditional analog negatives. “With SanDisk’s initiative to provide wider retail distribution of digital film at lower prices, we are likely to see a broadening of the marketplace, which can only serve to fuel further growth in digital photography,” said Stephen Baker, director of industry analysis with The NPD Group, a market research company that tracks retail trends. Overall, he said, retail sales of flash memory continue to boom, with sales up 51 percent for the last 12 months ending in April 2004.

“The rapid acceptance of Shoot & Store doesn’t surprise us,” said Semico Research analyst Jim Handy. “Just as people today squirrel away their negatives in a shoebox, consumers will do the same with their flash memory cards in the future, circumventing any need to frequently download their photos to computers,” he said. “This strategy will work well for SanDisk, and we expect for it to help digital photography displace film over the next few years.”

As the season for weddings and summer vacations gets underway, digital camera users who need to pick up flash memory cards quickly should be able to find the SanDisk Shoot & Store label close to home or on the road. The cards are sold in 50- and 100-picture capacities (approximate number of pictures based on a 1-megapixel resolution setting for 4×6–inch prints) and are available in the popular formats of CompactFlash, SD and Memory Stick. Suggested retail prices range from $14.99 for the 32-megabyte (50-picture) cards to $24.99 for the 64-megabyte (100-picture) cards.

With such economical pricing, consumers can fill the cards with “keepers”—deleting the images they don’t like—and store their pictures permanently on the cards themselves. Also, Shoot & Store cards are easy to leave off at digital photo processing centers, which can often produce finished prints in an hour or two.

“Since images last for decades on flash memory cards, the Shoot & Store system offers superior durability and convenience,” said Nelson Chan, senior vice president and general manager of SanDisk’s retail business unit. “The response to this new line has been very positive from both retailers and consumers, and we believe that our flash memory cards will rapidly become accepted as digital negatives. Consumers will greatly appreciate finding SanDisk Shoot & Store cards in many convenient outlets on an around-the-clock basis.”

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