MAJAP Sales Up For NECO, Moves Spring Show to PrimeTime!
Group has strong Labor Day sales, consumer electronics sales flatSeptember 14, 2012 By Jeff O'Heir
Executives from the New England Appliance and Electronics Group (NECO), which recently held its annual buying show at Foxwoods Casino and Resort in Mashantucket, Conn., said group-wide appliance sales for the last 12 months have increased about 3 percent, while consumer electronics sales have remained flat.
About 600 dealers and roughly 60 vendors attended the show, executives said. About 40 percent of NECO members sell both CE and appliances, while about 50 percent focus only on appliances. NECO added about 50 members during the last 12 and lost only three, said Anthony Bruno NECO's executive director. Membership, he added, is expanding from the group's mainly Northeast footprint into some parts of the Southeast, as well as Ohio.
NECO dealers had strong Labor Day sales, thanks mainly to effective pricing programs, attractive package rebates and an onslaught of circulars (about 10 million were sent out on behalf of dealers), Bruno said, adding that "If the proposition is strong, the consumer is buying."
Bruno and Robert Balzano, NECO merchandising/buyer, said they've seen an uptick in the sales of "agitator" clothes washers, a move by consumers to return to simpler appliances after a slate of bad reviews regarding the more complex and less reliable top load washers. Big is also in with large French door refrigerators (30 cubic feet and above) and 50-inch and above flat-panel TVs selling well over the last 12 months.
But Gary Chorman, owner of Millman's Appliance in Rehoboth Beach, Del., said "huge improvements" in the performance and styling of top-load laundry is drawing consumers back to the category. Classic kitchen and laundry packages in the $1,999 to $5,000 range will continue to drive business into the holidays, he said.
"That's where business is being done," Chorman said. "It's a vignette business."
To satisfy customer demand, grab a larger share of his market and improve customer service, Chorman over the last few years has increased his number of showrooms to four (showcasing about 4,000 units) and turned one of his warehouses into a "state-of-the-art" service department.
"We're seeing peak interest in the fall market," he said.
Bruno and Balzano also said that more NECO dealers are beginning to sell mattresses (a higher-margin category that CE and appliances), although they currently have to buy those products outside of the group. But that could soon change as NECO strengthens its partnership with the Nationwide Marketing Group. NECO did not renew the contract with the Meadowlands Exposition Center in New Jersey for its annual spring show. Instead, NECO members can attend Nationwide's PrimeTime dealer and vendor expo in March at the Venetian in Las Vegas.