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Brand Source Predicts Increase in Retail Sales

The economy, housing, consumer confidence, new products point to stronger sales and profits

February 20, 2013 By Jeff O’Heir
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 After amassing sales in consumer electronics and appliance that were better than the industry average last year, Brand Source executives expect the next two years to generate better revenues and profits for their dealers.

Speaking at the group’s summit this week in Orlando, Fla., the executives acknowledged that many of the challenges left in the wake of the recession will continue. But several factors could present growth opportunities during the next few years, including an increase in new housing starts and remodeling jobs, a new generation of audio and control products, and a historically high stock market. The executives also said that a new cloud-based back-end system that Brand Source is now rolling out should help members increase sales and profits. The system includes POS, forecasting and mobile commerce platforms.

“Legacy, mature categories are and will be a challenge, but there is so much opportunity in the CE space, especially with wireless solutions, to expand offerings that were once out of reach of the average customer,” said Jim Ristow, executive vice president of Home Entertainment Source. “The economic indicators in the luxury market for the custom integrator and that our members in general have more jobs on the books and are actually hiring are positive signs.”

Brand Source has integrated the new IT system into the stores of some of its largest members and is now making it available to its general membership. Bob Lawrence, Brand Source's CEO, expects all members to integrate the system within five years. It starts at about $2,500 with a monthly fee of about $399 for a basic package and increases to about $5,000 with a $500 monthly fee for the full feature set. Because it’s cloud-based, retailers won’t have to shell out hefty fees or periodic software upgrades, Lawrence said. Transitioning to the new system takes about 30 days.

“It’s not very often that we can come up with one solution that can increase our dealers’ sales and profitability,” Lawrence said.

One of the system’s most important elements is its POS platform, which provides real-time sell through information that can be used by the dealers, Brand Source executives and their vendor partners for more accurate inventory management and forecasting.

“It provides dealers with the ability to base decisions on facts, and it’s all real-time,” said John White, Brand Source’s executive vice president of appliances and services. “We make so many decisions as a group by our gut, but we no longer have the luxury of guessing what (the dealers) have sold.”
 

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