Nationwide Execs on the State of the Industry
New programs aim to bolster indies’ market impactMarch 5, 2013 By Nancy Klosek
One key tool presented to membership there was the Info-Pad initiative (details provided in a related web story), slated to kick off this spring; another was the MemberNet 4.0 intranet, which includes a general repository of manufacturer information and programs. COO Les Kirk said the group would release in Q2 a revamp of it that has been in the works for over a year. It will now be bilingual, adding French as a language option as an accommodation for the new Cantrex group contingent; it has a more powerful database based on a strengthened infrastructure, and was made easier to operate, he said. The overhaul has also enhanced the utility of the group’s digital signage solution, MemberNet TV Plus, for dealers.
CEO Robert Weisner synopsized the group’s standing in terms of sales volume and storefront numbers. Nationwide boasts roughly 10,000 storefronts and its sales are about $2 billion in Canada and $12 billion in the U.S., he said.
Dave Bilas, executive vice president, reported that the group has gained share in the independent channel. “As Best Buy stores have been faltering, that share is coming to us,” he said, but he reaffirmed that while the group is confident in brick-and-mortar stores’ long-term viability, dealers still “need an Internet presence, either transactional or informational.” Nationwide members, he said, “sell a good premium mix. Our ASPs are higher than the national average, typically well over $50 in appliances and sometimes over $100. Our channel can sell that type of product quicker and better than anyone. We also have good penetration in furniture and bedding.” Bilas added that the group had already captured nearly 20 percent of the industry’s appliances market, with the group’s overall sales mix being about 50 percent appliances and 50 percent electronics, with “great opportunities” in the furniture category on the horizon.
Appliances have been a strong sales suit for independents last year and in the first part of 2013, but even stronger for Nationwide members, by its executives’ accounts.