By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Independent distributor Crosley Corp. will mount an aggressive new sales program this year designed to boost business by 20 percent and to make independent dealers more competitive against national chains.
The plan, which will cover the distributor's Maytag, Zenith and private-label Crosely brand, was announced at the annual Crosley National Convention, held here last month at the Belleview Biltmore Resort and Spa.
According to Crosley president/CEO Buddy Dixson Sr. the advertising component of the sales program will include television, radio, newspapers, private sales, "millions" of dealer-customized consumer flyers and other formats. The one-year plan features 12 separate sales programs for every month of the year, which will allow independent dealers to go "head to head against the failing price hog stores" and "knock competition crazy."
Crosley will also kick-off a special promotion this spring to support its eponymous house brand, which Dixson described as "the only 100-percent protected brand in the industry." He added that the product line is manufactured exclusively for independent dealers to provide them with "an exclusive, 'Kenmore'-type brand of their own."
To underscore the promotion, dubbed "Independent Dealers Are Nuts Not To Sell Crosley," the company will distribute over a million bags of peanuts to merchants.
A highlight of the convention was the ceremonial pay out by manufacturers of a cumulative $1 million to Crosley's independent distributors in the U.S. and Canada for exceeding their 2001 quotas by 25 percent. Dixson, a 60-year veteran of the white goods industry, said the sales gains came at the expense of Crosley's competitors, which are losing market share to the company's distribution centers.
Dixson noted that last year's controversial decision by "large factories" — notably Zenith — to eliminate buying group programs in favor of a two-step distribution approach reflects the high cost of freight, limited field sales support and the difficulty of making daily deliveries to customers. He said that as a result of "the added volume of local sales and service, independent dealers have returned to the prominence they used to have.
"The big box, no service and no sales 'price hog' stores are fast disappearing from the local neighborhood sales picture," he declared.
Dixson also pledged Crosley's "full and continued support" of Maytag for many years to come, citing the close association between the two companies.
Looking ahead, Dixson set a target of 20 percent in increased sales for Crosley, despite his prediction for a "somewhat flat sales year" for the major appliance industry.
"We did it in 2001 and with your support we can exceed our own expectations for 2002," he told conventioneers. "And we can make it by taking business away from our fast-asleep factory competition" and offshore suppliers.
"Now, with a new million dollars just given to you tonight, we are to stay hungry and show our competition that we and our aggressive dealers want another million dollars by surpassing our assigned quotas again."
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