NATM and New Vendor Strategies
By Markkus Rovito
Vendors Thomson and Zenith showed up to the NATM meeting with significant changes in their business strategies: Thomson had its alliance with RadioShack and RS's new store-within-a-store deal with Blockbuster, and Zenith had its new digital strategy and the decision to work with buying group members individually rather than with buying groups as a collective. Regarding Thomson, NATM President Jerry Throgmartin said, "RCA is still a strong partner. By the same token, they run the risk of becoming known as the house brand at RadioShack. At a point, if we promote the RCA brand that's known as a RadioShack brand, we run the risk of sending customers to RadioShack."
NATM Executive Director Bill Trawick mentioned that most of the RCA products selling at RS are commodities and that NATM members probably would not sell much of that product anyway. "As long as they're not eroding some of our price points on the higher end, it's fine," he said.
Abt Electronics Vice President Phil Hannon contended the Zenith issue has been blown out of proportion and its digital transition would breathe at least some new life into the company. Abt President Mike Abt mused on Zenith's struggles. "It's sad," he said. "They've been around forever, and their average customer is dying off. It's the right move for them, but will it work? I don't know. I hope so."