While some boutique outfits are finding it hard to stay afloat during these cash-strapped times, many are faring just fine. At first glance, it's easy to say that Pioneer is certainly not one of those outfits with nothing to fret over, but according to Masao Kawabata, chairman and CEO of Pioneer North America, things aren't nearly as bad as they seem. In a recent interview, he explained that while he was saddened about the recent events surrounding Tweeter and Circuit City, he still felt that "strong relationships with independent channels" would spur sales. In fact, he noted that "premium products [read: Pioneer products] are not subject to too much of the ups and downs of the economy, and for those who can [afford] the very best they will go and shop for the very best." Make no mistake -- KURO flat-panels and Elite Blu-ray players aren't the cheapest on the block, but we're still hesitant to say they're recession proof.

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Pioneer CEO expects its flat-panel sales to prevail through economic downturn