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Part 2 : LifeStyle AV - Changes..

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9 LEE
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9 LEE Posted: Sat, Jul 29 2017 5:11 PM

So, you've read my long post 'Part 1' (it took about an hour to write and edit enough to make sense) and here's the Second.... (for those who've landed on this page and would like to read Part 1 first, please click HERE )

_______

Here we go then. Part 2...

Pre-Owned B&O, to the level we do it, just isn't sustainable as a core business any more.

I tried to get involved in the 'Approved Used' side with B&O on an official level and take it forward, properly, but once again UK HQ simply tried to use my knowledge and enthusiasm to their own ends... then slammed the door in my face. Big business, these things happen, we move on, etc.  I'm not sure how well it's doing...

What about B&O Play? Is there a market in that for us, we asked ourselves.  Well, after trying to repair a few Play products we quickly concluded it was a waste of time. They may look pretty, they may sound good, but they're designed to be thrown away the second they go wrong outside the warranty period from a customers perspective.

I 'test purchased' a BeoLit 15 from the UK's 'official' refurbisher and re-marketer of Play products on eBay - called 'beoplay' and featuring the official B&O Play logo. What I received was laughable - full of food residue and dirt, torn packaging, and it smelt of damp and fried food. Nice.  I did post a thread on here, but nobody really paid any attention. Eventually, after a truly comedic return process and many emails, I got a refund.

I wrote to B&O, offering to do refurbished B&O properly. I wanted the Play brand to be a slick and professional in-road to the 'main brand'.  Let's impress people, and make them think 'wow.. if the service buying a piece from their reconditioned budget range is this good - how amazing must it be to be a 'real' B&O customer?!'

They then go to their local dealer, buy new Play, or new main brand - and the virtuous circle starts all over again. New sells, used hits the market, the brand gets known again.. you know the rest.

A very kind and decent senior B&O employee put my offer in front of the head of Play.  The answer was "No, they were happy with what they already had".  

What they already had was a seller with a 98.4% feedback rating on eBay after 500 transactions.  Mine by comparison, I stated, was 100% after almost 6,000 transactions. Flawless, and all dealing with B&O products.

So, I gave up on that idea.  B&O, once again, happy with mediocrity.

What to do?  I'm a B&O fan, I love the brand, we all do here - but you get to a point where the positivity is drained from you, slowly but surely.

Are there other brands out there who offer a premium product, with premium looking styling, premium materials, the latest technology, a good reputation, with a good history, at what could be considered sensible prices?

Yes. Loewe. 

The brand was mentioned several times in my 'Credible Alternatives' thread, and is a brand I've had in my own home for about the last 7-8 years - albeit just the one TV. It's performed faultlessly, looks good, great picture, sounds good - and has largely been ignored thanks to my unswerving loyalty and love of B&O.

More and more, I've seen Loewe in B&O owners homes lately. I've always asked if they were happy with it, if it's gone wrong, and was it good value for money.

Yes. No. Yes.  Always the answers to those questions. Always, without fail.

I asked the B&O Dealers who sold Loewe as an addition to the B&O brand the same questions.

Yes. No. Yes. Same answers.  No problems to report, and they were always happy to sell it - and the customers were always happy with it.

So, I contacted Loewe.

Very relaxed, very welcoming, easy to deal with, polite, prompt with replies, helpful, modest - pretty much everything B&O UK aren't (with the exception of Steve Devonshire, bless that fellow) - and filled me with great confidence.

I've signed on the dotted line, my demo stock arrives next week, and I'm going to give it my all.  If I stay solely with B&O, I'm finished, unless I rapidly and dramatically lower my standards - which isn't even an option for myself, my staff, or LifeStyle AV as a brand.

The products are indeed excellent, the company has a long history (not without its blips, just like B&O) and the new products, by comparison to B&O are well-priced. Warranties are long, and as we're going to be an Authorised Service Centre, we'll also be able to carry out any warranty work - if needed.

I'll still be dealing in pre-owned B&O, I'll still be here on BeoWorld, and I'll always love the brand - but as I've said, there's only so much you can take. I truly feel sorry for the dealers who have recently spent fortunes revamping their B&O showrooms and hope they can make them work.

I truly want the brand to survive, but I keep thinking back to the 'tailspin' thread and seeing it coming more and more real as the months and years go on.  I hope it can be turned round, and I'll be so happy if it does - but it's too late for my business now. I need to diversify.

I'm looking to add other brands too. The aim is to become a multi-brand dealer offering just a handful of tried and trusted 'hand-picked' names we're proud to sell and offer our friendly, personal, professional service with. We've a worldwide customer base of people who have become friends over the last 12 years, and we want to carry on dealing with.

So, Loewe it is.

I'm excited, and I'm a little bit nervous - like a kid on the first day of school, but I'm confident there's a place for well-priced premium TV's with the latest technology.  I think a lot of the customers who grew tired of B&O and walked away in the direction of Samsung and LG will welcome a hand built product for not much more than the price of a mass-market offering. Their pricing is about where B&O should be, in my opinion - and the opinion of many people I speak to.

I'd welcome your thoughts, and your comments - and hope to gain your support in what has been a really tough decision to make.

Lee

 

 

jvezina
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jvezina replied on Sat, Jul 29 2017 5:24 PM

Good evening,

Even if it is out of topic in a B&O forum, does Loewe plans to return to North America?

Thanks,

Jean

 

Sal
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Sal replied on Sat, Jul 29 2017 5:45 PM

Congratulations, Lee. I wish you much success. You're a smart and savvy businessman; you took action when you had to. I'm also curious if Loewe plans to enter the US market. 

vikinger
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vikinger replied on Sat, Jul 29 2017 5:59 PM

Go for it Lee!

Will we have a Loewe sub forum, or LoeWorld?

Graham

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BeoGreg replied on Sat, Jul 29 2017 6:14 PM
Well, on the tv front I've been speaking here about the Loewe Bild 7 Oled.

So I can only second your decision.

Good luck anyway !
Puncher
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Puncher replied on Sat, Jul 29 2017 6:31 PM

Well done to you and the very best of luck in your new venture. It makes absolutely no sense being a martyr and tying yourself to the mast of any sinking ship, no matter how great they once were!

 Being a long time lover of the brand it has saddened me to watch their slow but steady "progress" to their current state, as I have commented here many times over the years, and it has been noticeable that many of the most loyal and verbals supporters have gradually fallen away. I fear that they have lost their real market and are left chasing one time headphone sales etc. against "the rest", where they have no history or standing, having given up a market where they stood pretty much alone.

If those that want to sell it and dedicate their livelihood to it can't then how do the company expect to sell to those that don't want what they're selling!

 Once again, I salute your efforts (incl. actually trying to personally help the company along)! and I wish you only good things with your latest endeavour.

Ban boring signatures!

solderon29
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I'm sure we all wish you well Lee in the new venture.And we can be thankful that at least you will persevere with B&O as much as you dare to?

B&O seem to have a long and depressing history of alternatively making great innovative products and shooting themselves in the foot!

They seem to treat their best Dealer's badly,and I've meet many able people over the years,who were passionate about the product,and wanted to try selling it,but were given the cold shoulder.Almost as though B&O were saying "we can't appoint you as you would be too good at it"!!!

They too seem to be deluded in thinking that there is a magic money tree (cliché copyright?)and that sufficient people with more money than sense will keep buying the brand regardless!Sadly,those people don't come back,as they buy for all the wrong reasons.

I hope that B&O will see the light before it's too late,but I'm a "beonutter" who can't resist the stuff,and I should indeed get out more too!

In your case sir,Loewe's gain is another B&O loss.

Nick

 

Barry Santini
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Best of luck with Loewe. I for one am glad for you
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Peter replied on Sat, Jul 29 2017 7:59 PM

Completely agree with you Lee - and, once tax bill paid this month, will be looking for a new TV. When ready, you will have a customer.  I also think we need to broaden the appeal of Beoworld so would support a Loewe subforum and product area. You have run Beoworld in an exemplary way and I think you have enhanced B&O's reputation by your support. This forum has long been the go to internet site for B&O support and it rarely has negative threads where not deserved. Unfortunately I don't think B&O have kept up with developments - though this was always going to be a difficult ask. In the past, B&O TVs have simply been the best - the old Avant was just better than anything else. Unfortunately one cannot say that now as they lag technically and particularly in software development. I still love the brand but almost all that I use is now very old. The death knell was signed when they adopted module replacement instead of proper repair departments. The problem is that engineering equipment to the old standards is outrageously expensive and no-one will pay for this. Better to acknowledge this and not pretend that old glories can justify the eye watering prices now demanded for what is second division technology in a pretty box.

Peter

Barry Santini
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BeoLoewe World?
Simonbeo
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Simonbeo replied on Sat, Jul 29 2017 8:24 PM

Have they taught you the meaning of the name and it's correct pronunciation?

Answer ( learver means Lion in German)

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tobeyone replied on Sat, Jul 29 2017 8:27 PM
Yes well done Lee.

The brands go together well. I have many B&O TV's and other items and an 18 month old 55" Loewe TV which I'm pretty happy with, although I like my 55" Avant better!!

Good luck.....

Mike
9 LEE
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9 LEE replied on Sat, Jul 29 2017 8:28 PM

Hey... I'm not looking to change BeoWorld. It's a B&O website for B&O enthusiasts. Meddling with it to incorporate Loewe would be, well, just a bit odd... and to some degree wrong.  This site isn't an extension of my business - it's somewhere for B&O fans to be, to share ideas, opinions and very often help each other.

I'd like to see Loewe as an alternative to B&O, not a replacement - just as it is now with many B&O dealers.  Will it knock B&O off its perch going forward? Who knows...  If B&O continue as they are, there's a strong chance Loewe will become the 'new B&O' as far as TV's go.

Either way, I'll always love B&O for the pleasure it's given me since I was a teenager, and the living it's given me for the past 12 years.  I'll always support the brand, but at the end of the day I've got to look after my own business - even if B&O can't look after theirs.

With persmission, of course, I'd love to have a small Loewe advert on here - and offer BeoWorld Members special deals. I'd rather you bought Loewe than Samsung, Sony, LG etc. - but, if people are uncomfortable with this, I'll respect their wishes.

Lee

vikinger
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vikinger replied on Sat, Jul 29 2017 8:38 PM

Just noticed that Richer Sounds are a Loewe dealer. They seem to charge Loewe's RRP.

Graham

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BeoGreg replied on Sat, Jul 29 2017 8:44 PM
Will talk about it (Loewe tv) after the Eclipse is out ! I still have hope with that product even if I know the price would never justify the buy.

On the Loewe forum my first question will be about the brackets on the back of the tv (to hold ugly boxes) and how to control thoses with the Loewe remote.
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benoit replied on Sat, Jul 29 2017 8:50 PM

I wish you all the best Lee and I'm sure you will be as passionate as you are with B&O! This is the key of the success.

Peter the Biker
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Gut gebrüllt, Loewe!

(Roared well, lion)

In Germany it is a compliment to tell somebody that he found just the right strong wording on a matter.

May this forum live on thus helping me to find the right decisions as I found up to today.

May your business plan be a real success.

 

Peter the biker

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Hi Lee,

I am pleased to read so many positive replies to your opening thread (Part 2) and I too would like to genuinely and sincerely wish you all the very best in your new endeavours. Of course you must make such a decision given how B&O currently is, and has been, for some time. It has been a slow decline and we have all shared this demise playing out and felt sad by it, especially me as I cannot begin to express to you (and other community members) just how much I have always loved the B&O brand. It was so much more than a brand; a real passion.

You have to move on in business as 'we' have to move on as consumers and fans. The simply truth is that B&O no longer stand for what they once did and it is obvious many of us feel this way. They have lost completely lost direction and do not seem concerned about very negative feedback (albeit constructive) often received from customers, many loyal to the brand for several years. So best we leave them to it.

Peter mentions he might be a future purchaser of Loewe from you and I will too. I will have finished renovating my current property in about 6 months time and at that point be looking to install a top of the range television that I would have liked to have been B&O. However, if B&O disappoint again I will happily consider Loewe as the next best alternative. In fact it may even be better so suffice to say, I'll be in touch at some point. If none of these then I was going to consider the Sony A1 or LG W7 as it currently stands.

You're an excellent chap and have provided and continue to provide a great forum for those of us passionate about B&O so thank you for that. Reading the Beoworld forum is something I always look forward to most evenings before bed. You do your best to keep it lively (I do too!) and to create discussion but we all feel how challenging this has become as really, there is little new to talk about as much has been discussed before and there is little to no excitement about anything B&O these days.

I really don't think it matters what you sell as it is you that makes a success of it, so keep fighting the good fight and I'll certainly support you and buy from you if I am looking to buy any products you sell that I am wanting going forward.

Loewe is a good choice and perhaps they will be more appreciative and accommodating of your/our passion than B&O have been; although I acknowledge B&O have involved you a lot to some extent in recent years and invited you to various meetings, but it seems when it really comes down to it they are not actually that interested in what their customers think and desire, and that's the saddest part of it all. As I said in a post to your Part 1 thread, this is surely about greed and that's where it all falls over, for anyone, not just for B&O.

All the very best,
Simon.

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Søren Mexico
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Good luck Lee, I gave up on B&O early 2000th, but as many here on the forum I will continue with the vintage, a Loewe forum here on the forum is a good idea

Collecting Vintage B&O is not a hobby, its a lifestyle.

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linder replied on Sat, Jul 29 2017 10:39 PM

jvezina:

Good evening,

Even if it is out of topic in a B&O forum, does Loewe plans to return to North America?

Thanks,

Jean

 

Loewe was in the New York city area for a short time in the late 1990's.

MediaBobNY
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MediaBobNY replied on Sat, Jul 29 2017 11:47 PM

'Fascinating read; thank you for taking the time to share Lee.  Best of luck with your more 'well-rounded' store.  It will be interesting to see which brands you add in the future.  Oh, and by all means - feel free to post that Loewe advert!  You've provided B&O tons of free market research worth $thousands in the past - shame they treated you the way they did.

OldJack
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OldJack replied on Sun, Jul 30 2017 12:30 AM

Good luck Lee!

Sad to say,B&O has to realize that BV is not a holy cow(anymore)

 

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Rob - Danish AV
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Always need to diversify. I've looked at other brands locally too, Metz & Loewe, but not enough sold new here.

I've thought about Bose & Sonos, I've made a few offers sand never been able to find the right price. 

Loewe should work well in the U.K. Their latest TV's look amazing, and the price of a 65 inch is realistic to most people these days,

good luck with the new venture. 

elephant
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elephant replied on Sun, Jul 30 2017 3:00 AM
Sadly my post eloquently praising Lee and his courage went astray.

In short: good luck, you are a gentleman doing the right thing for all parties, including importantly your staff.

BeoNut since '75

Aussie Michael
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I can feel your enthusiasm and what was not an easy decision to make.

You can only have the door shut in your face so many times

So good for you !

And don't worry the arrogance sometimes (and sadly) filters to the shop fronts too. Rarely but it does.

Loewe is a nice product. I thought I read in hear years ago that some people were able to hook up their b&o speakers to a Loewe tv.

Wishing you the best of luck.
Steph
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Steph replied on Sun, Jul 30 2017 7:40 AM

You are a wise guy, Lee.

Loewe makes very nice TVs.

I wish you the best of luck.

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Simonbeo replied on Sun, Jul 30 2017 8:42 AM

I was considering Loewe at the time of choosing our V1 and I believe John Lewis were advertising them but didn't appear to have any. I requested a brochure on-line from Loewe but nothing appeared in the post. We're still very pleased with the V1 but I haven't experienced the same appeal with the Horizon.

Also, the whole concept of TVs having residual values seems to have been lost , to the detriment of your business model. 

Its sad that B&O should lose your support Lee, but I can understand your reasoning. Good luck with your next

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chartz replied on Sun, Jul 30 2017 8:53 AM

Good luck to you then Lee. I do own a Loewe TV set and I can confirm it is top-notch quality. It even came with the complete schematics!

 

Jacques

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Simonbeo:
I was considering Loewe at the time of choosing our V1 and I believe John Lewis were advertising them

I just looked on the John Lewis web site and they don't appear to be selling Loewe any more.

The brands John Lewis listed as selling are Samsung, Sony, LG, Panasonic, Hisense, Linsar, Toshiba, Avtex, Philips and Sharp

Regards Keith....

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Simonbeo replied on Sun, Jul 30 2017 9:19 AM

I think they were trying them in selected John Lewis shops. I generally like to buy B&O or something Italian for bicycles , cars etc . Just for that really interesting after sales support.

wheres the nearest Brionvega dealer?....

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Steve at Sounds Heavenly
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Hi Lee,

Thanks for an open and well considered review of the current situation.  Whilst I hope that the core of long-term B&O fans (I count myself in that group) will stay loyal to the brand, I suspect that the more casual buyers may not be as keen to part with their cash as they would have been even a year ago.  I have long been intrigued by Loewe, as their stylish TVs seem to increasingly be turning into what I had always wanted from a "Beovision", with clean good looks and a simple functional user interface that my 4 year old daughter can manage with ease.

After a couple of years assisting Loewe stores across the country with cables alongside our B&O work (primarily for customers with Beolab speakers who were moving away from B&O) I have found their TVs to work well as the centrepiece of a B&O surround sound system, along with generic music streamers and all the other devices that modern consumers want.

I will be taking my lead from Lee and increasing my support for Loewe products going forwards, especially for customers with a mix of previous B&O speakers who want to get a seamless transfer without having to ditch everything they currently have.

I will be following this discussion with interest and I welcome comments and suggestions from other Beoworlders!

Kind regards, Steve.

Steve.

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vikinger
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vikinger replied on Sun, Jul 30 2017 10:17 AM

vikinger:

Just noticed that Richer Sounds are a Loewe dealer. They seem to charge Loewe's RRP.

Graham

At least in the South East, Lee, you should be able to blow them out of the water.

Will customers prefer a showroom demonstration, or prefer buying from a retailer selling hi-fi boxes and TV's stacked to the ceiling in a tiny room?

Graham

vikinger
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vikinger replied on Sun, Jul 30 2017 10:53 AM

From Wired.com 6 years ago.

Can the cult of B&O last?

 https://www.wired.com/2011/09/ff_bando/

With quotes from Lee and from Tim Jarman.

Graham

 

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Duels replied on Sun, Jul 30 2017 11:56 AM
vikinger:

From Wired.com 6 years ago.

Can the cult of B&O last?

https://www.wired.com/2011/09/ff_bando/

With quotes from Lee and from Tim Jarman.

Graham

A fascinating read.
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ed7 replied on Sun, Jul 30 2017 11:58 AM

Wishing you best of luckLee you have done a lot for the brand also was somehow your livelihood it is B&O loss somehow !.Never been a great fan of Loewe imho was (wanna be) where B&O is the(Be) . 

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moxxey replied on Sun, Jul 30 2017 1:03 PM

I mentioned here a few weeks ago that the Bath B&O store states it's  nowa Loewe retailer, even when it's an officially branded B&O store. Looks like they realise they needed to diversify, too. Will be interesting to see what happens and if/how they integrate other brands in to the store and market successfully.

When I walk past the local store, there's only ever one person working in there. Must be boring during your average weekday.

Duels
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Duels replied on Sun, Jul 30 2017 1:10 PM
Good luck Lee. As I posted elsewhere I have a Loewe Individual tv which has been great. I can't see me spending £8,000 + on a B&O tv and will almost certainly stay with Loewe when I'm due a replacement/upgrade. It's a high quality brand at a price point that works for me.

The two brands can definitely coexist in my world. That said, I have never quite got the same absolute joy of ownership from Loewe that I get from B&O. There is something special and unique for example about my BL18s that makes me smile inwardly when I look at them. No other brand can match that magic.

But your decision makes perfect business sense. I suspect at some point someone will walk into your place intending to buy nearly new B&O and walk out with Loewe. But also vice Versa. And that can only be good for your business appeal.

Very best of luck!
Mark
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Mark replied on Sun, Jul 30 2017 2:00 PM
makes complete sense Lee good luck

we tend to forget there is more to design than designing.

Daniel
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Daniel replied on Sun, Jul 30 2017 2:02 PM

Go for it, Lee! As a member being around since BeoWorld MK1, I really appreciate what you've done for this site. A wise step of you to widening your business. After all, you and your employees shall put food on the table. I see no problem at all if the B&O here blends up with other high premium brands. I wish the very best for you.

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Ben_S replied on Sun, Jul 30 2017 2:22 PM

Can only echo what everyone has been saying. This decision seems to make perfect sense and I'm sure the whole forum wishes you the best of Luck Lee. 

Ben

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