Kicker to Enter Walmart in September

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Kicker will enter Walmart in September, according to a letter sent to dealers and signed by Kicker President Steve Irby.

The company will offer a limited number of entry level car amplifiers, speakers and woofers through Walmart from Kicker’s DS, DX and Comp lines.

The letter stated “Recently, we were approached by executives from Walmart, and after much discussion and consideration, we have decided to do business with them.  With 3,800 locations and approximately 140 million consumer visits per week, Walmart has the unique ability to expose a limited mix of the current Kicker entry level product line to a very large segment of the American consumer base.  These are consumers not likely to frequent specialty car audio retailers.”

KickerWalmartKicker’s products will actually serve as Walmart’s high end offering in car amps and speakers.

Car stereo specialists “will have lines that are a clear step-up from Walmart’s offering,” said the letter.

Kicker also said that it plans to “accelerate” new product development.  It will make a significant investment in research and development, and it plans to debut a new line of woofers, amps and speakers for specialists at the SEMA show this fall.

A Kicker spokesman had “no comment” on the matter.

The letter hinted at two reasons why Kicker made the difficult choice to enter Walmart.   One, is that the company has made a sincere effort to shut off all unauthorized Internet discounting of its products.   The Walmart deal would supplant revenues lost from eliminating discounters and help to ensure that Kicker is not discounted on the Internet.

Secondly, the letter said, the Walmart deal will help raise awareness for the Kicker brand.

Source: CEoutlook

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47 Comments

  1. Kenwood, sony, Kicker, Pioneer all the big boys are selling out. Quality will start going out the window now with the big brands. Opens the doors for the small power house car audio brands. We await you, small power house brands will now have the chance to move up and blow the big box brands out of the box for quality. its just disgusting as Best TRY umm buy is already looking to close according to FORBES and plus not counting all the damge the cause to cars because of they re lack of knowledege for installs BEST TRY at its best

  2. kicker started to make new amps that will not be sold to anyone but dealers, so it can help dealers sell them for a map price and make money on it. Now kicker brand will be sold to wal mart so why the hell they started to make special brand to dealers. very bad idea i dont support it as a business owner who does $200k pluss of kicker product.

  3. It is funny how people are talking about “Wal-Mart Quality”. If I recall correctly, the last time that I went to Wal-Mart, they were selling iPods, Toshiba, Samsung, LG just to name a few. Does that make those products “bad” too????? From their letter, Kicker appears to only be selling a total of 9 SKU’s and that is from their entry level products.

  4. @Jimi, Plz tell me more about your magical 5300 watts! Amps that put out true RMS power don’t have odd numbers like that, also add in that L5 15’s are only rated at 750rms each, meaning 1500rms total. Please learn something about car audio before boasting your imaginary knowledge

  5. Just wait until they have a supply shortage with the cheap stuff and they have to supply to Walmart, because Walmart is not going to wait for product shortages, and Kicker isn’t going to want to lose the revenue, so they will eventually start to sell the same stuff as the independent. (sounds like Circuit City all over again!)

  6. Hey Jimi, since this is an INDUSTRY site, I am pretty sure the folks here know what good bass sounds like. I can say confidently that most on here have built some incredible systems, probably using Kicker as well. The article is about Kicker selling into Walmart and how that will affect dealers, not whether or not Kicker product is good. I think most would agree that it is pretty good product and that is why it is sad to see it being sold at Walmart (and Ebay) when the specialty retailers are the ones that have built top brands like this. BTW, Kicker no longer produces the L5 subwoofers. Some of my best systems were using SX amps and Solobaric subs both of which are no longer made and not relevant to Kicker’s product line today.

  7. I have 2 Kicker L5 Series 15’s in my truck, over 5300 watts of kicker power. Who ever says they suck, they haven’t heard REAL bass. LOL

  8. lmfao, bout time. these car shops trying to charge 119.00 for a kicker comp 10″ svc 4ohm sub, deserve to be shut down anyways, especially when u can get them for 49 dollars tops on internet

  9. This was expected for a while now, ever since kicker sold to circuit city, and we all know what happened to them.
    I have been a kicker dealer for over 20 years, but not anymore. Back in the early 90s I recieved a letter from kicker reassuring there dealers this would never happen. Now it seems they put a dufice in charge with no obligation of keeping their word. What this created was a specialty audio shop to turn into a install shop.
    If people dont wake up and stay out of Walmart then they will lose in the long run. Walmart is a HUGE monopoly and the government will take it soon enough since its against the law to have a monopoly. Sure saving money is good however loosing integrity has a even higher price. Kicker will say anything to there dealers true or false because they dont care about the promises they made years ago. Walmart and Kicker in the same sentence is a turn off and many jokes will be made at kicker systems. I dont think serious audio guys will want anything to do with Kicker after the word gets out. Execs of Stillwater designs will just come up with a different name for their higher end lines if they havent already. Bottom line is dont buy Kicker anything and dont shop at Walmart unless you want to work there one day soon!

  10. Not much to be said that has not already been said. Walmart is the mecca of all that is cheap. I don’t feel sorry for Kicker. I say good riddance to the them.

  11. I have supported the kicker line for decades and its a true act of greed. They have slowly cut out our profits , act completely stupid where all the product on the internet comes from. I lived thru fosgate sell n lightening audio thru big blue. Are we so ignorant to think they won’t be installing soon ? Let’s see them put a QUALITY install team togeather. JL audio, Diamond audio thanks again for keep n tight reigns on distribution.

  12. Let’s see who made all the brand names popular brick and mortar stores and if all the major company’s surported us like we surported them we would all still be makeing money in 12 volts but now there raceung to 0 .. It meet something to be a dealer 10 years ago but now it meens nothing the factory just don’t care anymore .all I can say is good luck

  13. Dealers this is NOT an opportunity! This not only de-values the Kicker brand, but higher-end electronics as a whole. Every major brand that sells out like this ruins your credibility. Look at TV’s – people have a hard time deciding between an Insignia and a Samsung. Samsung did this to themselves by deciding to play in that field, and this is what is happening to car audio. I recommend dealers drop Kicker quick – refuse current shipments and call Monday for RA’s on your remaining inventory. Switch to brands that are committed to quality over quantity. You need to send a message to manufacturers that you are the preferred customer – not the big boxes.

  14. It’s about time manufacturers stop trying to put any spin on decisions like this. In case you haven’t noticed; retailers aren’t buying it. They never did. Every manufacturer has the right and responsibility to do what they see as necessary to survive and thrive. Kicker has the right to sell to whomever they deem necessary. But stop trying to blow smoke about it being good for their specialty dealers. NOBODY is buying it!

  15. Kicker sux and they couldn’t get their product out there by them selves so they have to use Walmart. The only up side to it that I see is how easy it is to blow kickers crap you will be able to pull it out of your car as fast as you put it in and keep returning it

  16. I don’t think this will be any sort of oportunity for any of us existing dealers. It were nice if consumers wanted specialty products but the reality is most consumers now a day want cheap shit. They cant afford the better stuff, so they will settle for what Walmart offers them. Sure you can make money on labor but to a certain point only, I also have to worry about the competitors down the street doing the labor instead of me. I think this will defeitly hurt Kickers existing dealer network. I can also testify that their reps suck ass. I’m in AZ and I’m lucky if my rep visits me once a year and its always a 10 minute visit, normally trying to get me to buy other lines from their ditribution. It’s sad when I find out about Kicker sales and news from other friends instead of my own rep. Maybe they should model what Rockford did when they were in trouble a few years ago and re-arranged their rep network. As soon as my rockford rep started visitng me more often my sales more than doubled. Reps believe it or not have a huge influence on what is sold more at stores. Anyways time to replace the Kicker brand with JL.

  17. As a former long term rep with Kicker this is sad surprise. I believe this is an approach fraught with danger to the brand. I believe this is a bit of a desperation move that they were forced to make. I know Steve Irby’s ethics are of the highest order so he would not of done it if he had any other play.

  18. If Kicker would have taken care of the dealers they have now they would not have had to look for additional distribution. I have been a Kicker dealer for close to twenty years and things continue to get worse! Kicker’s web policy is a joke as well our rep firm, maybe others I can not comment on them. Most Kicker products can be found on E-Bay or the internet at or near cost, there is no profit to be made. Our rep firm has not been to our store in over four years, (Indiana) and yes we qualified for the trips, so not enough sales was not the problem. Steve remember that after you get in so deep with Wal Mart they will control you, the money you will make from Wal-Mart will only be around for a season and then reality will set in. You and several others tried it with Circuit City and Best Buy, but the monster you are getting ready to go to bed with will eventually devour you. Take an internal look at the way you do business fix it and then and only then will you have any hope for a long term future.

  19. I cannot imagine that they would have made this decision if they had any other choice. People must do what they need to in order to survive. That is a good spin, Sarge. Maybe they can use that one. There is plenty of specialty car audio out there to sell that the average consumer has not heard of. There you go, another opportunity to convince the customer that they need to buy an RE Audio, Sundown or Digital Designs, unless Wally World is picking those up to.

  20. Walmart will be good to get Kicker’s brand awareness out to people. This will boost the Kicker name into a more households. They are only offering entry level products. All the high ticket products will still be sold be the dealers.

    Someone still has to install the products that are bought. Most customers buying from Walmart isn’t too serious about car audio any way so its a good chance that they can’t install it themselves.

    I see this as an opportunity to team up Walmart and supplement their offerings to the public. They don’t carry every thing for every car and every customer’s needs. Be the store that Walmart refers their installations too. Ask Walmart to put up a sign advertising your installation services, so that the customers can get the extended warranties.

    From there its up to you to upsell them. This is an opportunity!

  21. All these comments really piss me off. Stillwater Designs is a small Oklahoma business doing a big job. Kicker has already been hurt by the economic downturn and are in a market that has declined in demand. I have friends who work there and I wouldn’t want them to lose their jobs. If BB and WM sales can save Kicker then so be it.

  22. Kicker knows Best Buy is pulling out of car audio in the U.S. and is making the proper changes to still have a big box retailer. Simple enough.

  23. We were a loyal kicker dealer for 16 years. We did not sell as much as we or kicker wanted, but we were loyal. First hey dropped unilateral pricing, then they went online, then all teir production went overseas, then to Circuit City, then Best Buy after they lost Circuit, now Walmart. Question I have is: Why has JL Audio not taken that route, and are they not the digest sub company out there? I can see kicker wanting to grow, but at what cost? We have done little with kicker this year, and I doubt we will re new our dealer agreement next year. If this does not work out for them, it will be just like when clarion went into best buy and the deal fell apart in a few years…Clarion bit the dust for all intensive purposes!

  24. Pete is exactly right, slim margins already and now with the Walmart stigma, it’s probably over for any of us selling the line.

  25. These consumers will not likely to frequent car audio retailers. Have they fell and bumped their heads? Not only do they frequent us but they bug the crap out of us already to supplement the things Wal Mart can’t give them. Such as installation advise or accesories. Also they already use us to price shop Wal Mart with their everyday low price guaruntee. I am SOOOO glad I do carry that Kicker crap. But it makes me wonder how long it will be before one of my other lines ends up there. Wal Mart is setting themselves up to be the next Circut City or Best Buy. Check it out.

  26. This is bs, we help make them strong for years and they turn around and do this, 1st it was Bestbuy but now Walmart. This will be our last year with Kicker in our stores as well.

  27. Nothing says “quality” like Wal-mart. Glad we quit selling for those sell-outs years ago!! We independants put them at the top and they shat on us! To Steve, you and your business ethics are a disgrace to car audio you piece of sh!t. Rot in hell.

  28. Support the brands that support you. If a line is all over the internet, then why buy from them?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! Other than a few Alpine, Clarion and JVC in dash units, just about everything we do now is pretty clean as far as the internet goes. And if the lines we currently sell all of sudden change their ways and end of on the internet (like what happened to Boston a couple years ago), we drop them just like that. Memphis, DD, Focal, Axxera, Blaupunkt and plenty of others will still support the independent. You have to actually have a few skilled sales people (not clerks) on your staff, but it can work. I can’t compete on price with the internet, so why try?

  29. Extremely discusted! This is truly the end of kicker… at least on my end i will do everything to stop selling it at my stores!!!!!

  30. Been a Kicker dealer since 1990. I cant wait for the first wal mart customer wanting warranty thru me so I can laugh in their face. This is a disgrace. What they need to do is get it off the internet, STOP THE TRANSHIPPING!!! If they really wanted to do something about it they could.

  31. Walmart Everyday Low Price (which will maintain MAP pricing) vs Amazon Third Party Marketplace (and zero adherance to MAP). In which scenario are we all better off?

    You guys fail to see the bigger picture. Vendors need to take Eggs from the Big Blue Basket before they crack…

  32. Sad days in audio – no small dealers -no aftermarket

    But I cant wait for them to start dealing with the kicker returns.

    Better wallyworld then me 😉

  33. and so it begins…. once a product is perceived to be a “Wal-Mart quality” product it will be hard to present as anything but… if Kicker is trying to kill off the rest of it’s existing dealer network, this is surely the way to do it…

  34. Think god we never had Kicker products —- Leave the cheap products
    To the cheap retailers. I am just glad there is JL Audio and Memphis
    That have not gone to the cheap retailers like BB and Walmart.

  35. Very few Independant vendors left. Kicker is hedging their bets. With BB as it currently stands, it doesnt seem long for the world. They will need to have large scale distribution to fall back on. Is Target next?

  36. Bahahaha!!!! Kicker must be hurting big time! Once you sell to Walmart there’s no coming back to the smaller car audio shops! We will be done with your junk!

  37. Retailers didnt make money selling Kicker anyway, this just will help the specialty retailers “kick” the line to the curb!! They need to get more profitable brand that supports brick and morter stores.

  38. My favorite part is “With 3,800 locations and approximately 140 million consumer visits per week” they say “These are consumers not likely to frequent specialty car audio retailers.”

    Yeah right…

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