Report From the Front Line A Buying Group Roundtable
For a long time, buying groups have been the champions of the independent, proving the theory of strength in numbers and creating the buying power of one through a collective. Their presence has been essential to independents, helping to stave off the omnipresent national big-box CE retailers. Their insights, then, can be invaluable indicators of what is happening on the forefront of small-scale retail.
Most groups agree that sales growth in 2004 was proof that the slow but stable economic recovery that began in 2003 was no joke, and they are optimistic about 2005. But, as is always the case in retail, there's no reason to rest easy—better times don't always equal better business. The pressure of national chains is rising, and there is an influx of new competition, whether it is in the form of home improvement giants like Lowe's and Home Depot or web operations like Amazon.com. No matter what the climate, challenges lay ahead.
Controversy on the MAP