Mike Abt

Editor in chief of Dealerscope

Mike Abt, president of Abt Electronics, told Dealerscope that the industry needs devices like the iPad

Consolidation has become a way of life in retail and manufacturing. The warranty industry is no different. Assurant Solutions is a case in point. The company just finalized its acquisition with GE’s Warranty Management Group. As part of the deal, Assurant signed a 10-year agreement to market extended warranties and service contracts on GE-brand appliances in the U.S. Shortly after that, Assurant bought wireless handset servicer Signal Holdings. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter. The upsides of the buys - both of which are in tune with Assurant’s aggressive growth strategy - include the ability to continue streamlining operations, creating

The perils of customer dissatisfaction Ringing up a sale, though it may seem like success, does not always guarantee a fat bottom line, especially if within a few short days, that same customer who happily waltzed out of the store with his or her new television set reappears with a glum look and sales receipt in hand. Product returns are a common phenomenon for any retailer. In some cases, products fail, don't work with existing technology or just end up being too complicated to operate, inspiring confused consumers to unload it. But that doesn't mean that there aren't effective ways of limiting the

By Markkus RovitoVendors 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

Springing Forward After Slow WinterBy Markkus RovitoORLANDO, Fla.—Most NATM Buying Corp. members and executives maintained an attitude of cautious optimism for 2001 at the group's annual meeting held last month. Although NATM Executive Director Bill Trawick called CE sales figures in January and February "not exciting," NATM expects another year of growth, with sales bouncing back in the second half of the year. (Note: After the NATM meeting, major stock indexes fell to their lowest levels in more than two years for the week ended March 16.) In order to weather the storm, NATM said its members would work on increasing efficiency in

By Tatyana Sinioukov Like yin and yang, Internet and in-store sales can live in perfect harmony, and there are several strategies that make it work. Some brick-and-mortar retailers turn click-and-mortar but still sell different products in-store and online. Take, for example, Abt Electronics. According to Mike Abt, company president, Abt Electronics sells mostly electronics through its Web site and adds major appliances to its in-store mix. "It's more difficult," he explained, "to ship big products, so customers are less likely to buy, say, a refrigerator online." Since July 1999, the integration of the Internet and traditional businesses is part of Circuit City's overall

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