Norwich store has plenty of reasons to celebrate

It is the only Panasonic store in East Anglia – and the Norwich shop is one year old this week.

The retailer on Castle Street opened at a time when retailers were feeling the pinch of the recession.

Department stores and supermarkets are also competing in the world of electricals. It was hard to predict if there was room for another home electrical shop on the high street.

But as the city shop turns one year old, Panasonic has reason to celebrate.

Caroline Grigglestone, group marketing manager for Bennetts Retail, which owns the Panasonic shop on Castle Street, said: 'Not only has the footfall in the shop been good, the turnover over the past year has exceeded expectations.

'Panasonic has become the number one electrical brand. There used to be Sony Centres on the high street, now Panasonic holds this accolade.'

Caroline puts this success down to the expertise of the store's staff.

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The three full-time and one part-time member of staff have all been trained by Panasonic to have knowledge of all the products and how they work so that they can help customers whenever they can.

She added: 'The Norwich store is the second largest store in the UK (Bristol has recently opened a larger store) and is the only stand-alone store in East Anglia at the moment.

'It used to be that you could only buy Panasonic products from electrical retail outlets or department stores, but now there is a specialist shop where you can not only get advice, but Panasonic staff are on hand to help you set up your new TV and explain how different technology works in plain English.'

The shop's success is also down to its products, such as the award-winning Panasonic Lumix digital camera.

The Panasonic shop is the first to get new technology, before Panasonic concessions in other stores.

The company was also one of the first to market with 3DTV with the Viera Full HD 3DTV launched earlier this year.

Bennetts buying office manager Matthew Dimsey said: 'There are currently only a few television programmes and DVDs in the 3D format, but this is gradually changing.

'This year's Alice in Wonderland film starring Johnny Depp is due for release on 3D DVD for Christmas, the Sky+ HD box is already fully compatible with 3D technology and Sky has begun to screen Premier League football matches in 3D. Virgin are also launching their 3D channel shortly.'

A current Panasonic offer means that with every purchase of a Panasonic 3DTV you will receive a 3D Blu-ray player free, and with 3DTVs retailing from �1,500 for a 42-inch, you could get into the 3D phenomenon for less than previously thought.

Panasonic have also launched the very first 3D camcorder so that you can make your own 3D films and watch them on your 3DTV.

The shop has a 3D sound and vision booth which allows you to experience 3D for yourself before you buy.

Customers can even shoot a mini 3D film and watch it on one of the 3DTVs.

This 'try before you buy' ethic has made the shop a place where people can be hands-on, find out how new technology works and get expert advice on what products will suit them.

Caroline added: 'The store is very hands-on and demo friendly. Panasonic not only sells televisions and digital imagery products, there is also a wealth of white goods available in store from washing machines and fridge-freezers, to shavers and bread-makers.'

To celebrate the Castle Street store's first birthday, Life Matters brings you a shopping guide to the best products to buy from the store. See pages 24 and 25.