Nationwide Marketing Group announced this week the development of the new Nationwide Southwest division, created to better serve members affected by realigned territories and the reorganization of major appliance and electronics companies. Under the direction of Dennis Willich, Nationwide Southwest operated for four years as an arm of Nation’s Brand Direct (NBD). Now, with 500 members and combined sales of $1.3 billion, the group will operate as a separate division of Nationwide with Willich at the helm. The move was spurred, in part, by changes such as the Whirlpool-Maytag merger that placed certain members outside the scope of NBD’s Eastern office.
On August 4th, Vann’s will cut the ribbon on a “lifestyle” shopping experience at its new Bozeman retail store. Rooted in the process of matching customer lifestyles with the proper technology, the new showroom is designed to feel like home. The stone and stucco facade houses five live kitchens with working appliances by Subzero, Viking Thermador, Dacor and GE Monogram. A home theater room shows off custom installation and the latest Mirage speaker products. Vann’s invites customers to test drive dishwashers and laundry products in its friendly demo room and to take a tour of the Viking and SubZero sponsored rooms complete with a
Almo, a Philadelphia-based distributor of major appliances and consumer electronics, held an open house event at a Holiday Inn in Harrisburg, PA June 13. Highlights of the event included two Frigidaire training sessions and a product demonstration room where dealers could meet with both manufacturers and Almo representatives. Almo’s Stephen Hesse noted that the distributor has about 100 dealers in the Harrisburg area, and that events like this are a great opportunity for them to see products first hand. Among the CE manufacturers participating in the event were Polaroid, Philips, Pioneer, Panasonic, Westinghouse and Coby. All of the participants rated flat panel TVs
Professional audio/video installers/integrators can now hook up with Tripp Lite to provide power protection for their projects. The Tripp Lite Power Partner Program equips members with sales and marketing materials, training and other exclusive perks. The program launch coincides with the recent introduction of a new line of Tripp Lite limited-distribution power protection products. Says Tripp Lite Executive Vice President Jim Folk, “The Power Partner Program gives A/V professionals the training and support they need to sell and install Tripp Lite power protection effectively.”
PAUL VARIBAULT (Auburn, Maine) There is a free lunch, America, and it’s cooked each week by the marketing manager at Agren Appliance Stores, Paul Varibault. Each Wednesday, Varibault turns the Viking display kitchen at Agren’s Auburn store into a working diner, offering customers a plate of his own specials, from mini-meatball subs to rueben chicken casserole complete with sauerkraut and swiss cheese. “Our customers are delighted,” says Varibault. “Often, they are trying to squeeze in an appliance purchase during their lunch hour, so this is nice for them.” The “customers lunch with us” tradition started close to three years ago, when a one-time cooking
“We’ve had rain for two months. We’re selling some dehumidifiers because of damp basements, but our high-end appliance sales have slowed a bit, partly because it’s just hard to build a house when it’s pouring out. The soil’s saturated. If I were a sump pump dealer, I’d probably be rich!” -Douglas Agren, Owner of Agren Appliance Stores, a 5-store chain in Maine, on high-end appliances sales this spring in the Northeast.
Nearly every town in America has a stretch of beat up, commercialized highway that looks like Route 1 in New Jersey. And nearly every American has done time waiting at light after light along such a pike, wondering if the road work will ever be done, barely surveying the landscape because, frankly, it’s not much to look at—just parking lots and shrubby-looking trees. These roads are about signs, really, the familiar bold letters that guide drivers to groceries, fast food, used cars, Wal-Mart, and the mall exits, signs which are pretty much the same everywhere. Everywhere except Lawrenceville, a Jersey town between Trenton and
When Whirlpool finally acquired Maytag in a stock/cash/debt assumption transaction valued at $2.6 billion, it was some of the biggest news to hit the appliance industry. At the time, Whirlpool said it would detail its Maytag plans in approximately 60 days. Jody Lau, Whirlpool communications manager, said, “We have good relationships with all of our trade partners and we will be communicating with them directly, one-on-one, as quickly as we can.” In the interim, retail leaders speculate how they think Whirlpool might combine the companies. Much is at stake. Whirlpool, with $14 billion in annual sales, sells products under the Whirlpool, KitchenAid, Estate, Roper, and
The appliance retail market has been riding a perfect storm of sorts, one in which consumers’ interest and ability to buy higher-end appliances have meshed beautifully with manufacturer product innovations in a primed retail channel. Any sales lost by market leader Sears have been eagerly snapped up by competitors. But the appliance retail climate is shifting, affected by a softening housing market, the still-aggressive expansion plans of Lowe’s and The Home Depot and, to a lesser extent, high energy prices. In early March, Dealerscope found appliance retailers of various formats cautiously eyeing the challenges ahead, but still enthusiastic about the appliance business.
Recent numbers from DisplaySearch, now a part of the NPD group, show data on Q4’05 large-area TFT LCD shipments, for 10-inch+ TFT LCD displays. Shipments increased 10 percent Q/Q and 69 percent Y/Y to 65.5M units. For all of 2005, shipments rose 58 percent to 218.5M panels on strong growth in all applications. Total revenues also experienced strong growth of 13 percent Q/Q and 78 percent Y/Y to $14.0B. For the year, revenues rose 25 percent to $44B, a record year for the TFT LCD industry. DisplaySearch expects Q4’05 to be the peak quarter in terms of Y/Y revenue growth in the latest crystal
It’s no surprise to any retailer that the hey day of DVD is over. With $30 DVD players selling in aisle five of the grocery store, DVD has fast become a low-margin, commodity product. So it makes sense for retailers to hail the coming of high definition DVD—HD DVD or Blu-ray—as a boost to better margins. But the sale of these players may not be so easy. Incompatible formats, digital copy protection limitations and consumer unawareness all contribute to this category’s status as a hard sell. But with HD DVD now ready to ship, retailers will have to develop a strategy. Dealerscope interviewed some
The backdrop of another PMA provides a perfect time for the imaging industry to take stock of what is going on economically with their customer base and, more specifically, their spending potential as all this new product readies for rollout. The National Retail Federation (NRF) recently concluded their annual Big Show at the Javits Center in New York and among the many retail technology headlines that came out of that show the NRF also released their Retail Outlook 2006 report. The retail research organization is painting a cautious picture for the 2006 consumer retail shopping outlook, claiming that high energy costs, modest wage increases
Jenn-Air Slide-in Ranges Going beyond just a cooktop, Jenn-Air is offering a series of slide-in ranges, with the aim of preseting a high-end, built-in look. Several models offer different features, including downdraft or updraft gas, dual-fuel and "gas on glass." Models with convection models are also available. The gas and dual-fuel models feature a triple-flame burner, which has two rings surrounding a 15,000 BTU burner. Prices range from $1,399 to $2,449 SRP. www.jenn-air.com GE Side-By-Side 'Frige GE's new refrigerator has an external ice and water dispenser that offers "PreciseFill" technology that allows users to fill receptacles, such as cups, bowls
Extended-service contracts don't just boost profits By Nancy Klosek There's an inescapable duality about extended warranties. When a customer buys a service contract, he is both buying a very costly piece of paper whose worth may never be realized while at the same time a very inexpensive solution to a potentially expensive problem. Warranties, unlike the products they are fashioned to cover, are much more than meets the eye. So companies in this trust-based business of product protection realize the need to be as transparent as possible to the retailers and consumers they serve. Dealerscope polled several major CE/appliance warranty executives this
Whirlpool Makes Manufacturing Changes Amidst a merger with Maytag, Whirlpool is shoring up it's manufacturing strategy, a process that the company says it has been working on for the past 12 months. Recently the company announced that it is moving the partial refrigerator production south of the border to Mexico. The new plant, which just completed construction, is located in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico, and will produce side-by-side refrigerator/freezer models, beginning in 2006 and employing 1,000 workers. The opening of the plant means layoffs for approximately 730 workers at Whirlpool's Fort Smith, Ark., plant, which, according to the company, will occur in October 2006.
De'Longhi, an Italian brand imported to the U.S. by EuroChef, recently announced the availability of its high-end 48-inch, side-by-side range. It has twin stainless steel warming drawers with individual thermostats and humidity control. It has a stainless steel 304 scotch brite finish and has six gas burners with electric ignition. Two burners in the center are designed for larger pots and can heat to 32,000 BTUs. Call 886-844-6566 or visit www.dehonghimajorappliances.com. Amana added to its range of dishwashers with a new removable in-door silverware basket. The in-door silverware basket has a double-basket design for loading silverware and utensils. The basket also stands
How Brand Source dealers level the merchandising playing field By Nancy Klosek The costs of running a successful retail business rise every year, as appliance dealers are acutely aware. And for smaller and medium-sized retailers, what compounds the difficulties of price-competition with big-box stores is the sheer breadth of resources these gargantuan establishments can draw from to smooth their day-to-day revenue sheets. Home Depot, for example, earmarked more than $1 billion between 2002 and 2004 for expenditures related to technologies used in keeping their nearly 2,000 stores humming—much of it likely spent on merchandising, signage, rebate programs, stock evaluation
How Hifi House partnered with a local magazine to showcase its talents to thousands—up close and personal By David Dritsas Here's a question for small retailers: If you could have nearly 5,000 potential customers walk through your retail showroom in a period of a few short weeks, would you do it? On top of that, how would you like nearly 10 months of editorial exposure in a local lifestyle magazine to go along with it? A resounding "yes" would be the answer for most dealers. At Broomall, Pa.'s Hifi House, that's almost exactly what they were able to do by striking a partnership with
Sharp Insight Pro One of the newest takes on the all-in-one concept, this Cooktop+Microwave Drawer contains a 1000-watt Microwave Drawer that sits beneath a smooth glass ceramic cooktop. The unit measures 30 inches wide, and the drawer can handle 9-inch by 13-inch oblong dishes. It is available in stainless steel (model KB-5121KS), black (model KB-5121KK) and white (model KB-5121KW). Prices start at $1,689.99 and the units will begin shipping in January. www.sharpusa.com A Cool Cooler Danby's DWC2121BLS integrated wine cooler is part of its Silhouette line. This twin door model has two independent compartments that can have distinct, electronically-controlled environments to store
Buying groups are working to move Appliance dealers toward upscale products By David Dritsas For the past five years, Ed Kelly, Nationwide Market Group's president, has been working to convince appliance dealers to consider carrying higher-end products. Just as the independent retailers of audio/video learned long-ago, appliance dealers are increasingly catering to upscale tastes, a practice that can give the dealer an advantage over the national chains. Some buying groups are taking proactive steps to help the transition along. "We've been working on that for about five years," explains Kelly. "We've been pushing dealers up into the GE Monograms [for example]—to change the mix