By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Some suppliers and retailers say they are finding unusually strong success with tent sales this summer, despite the tough retail climate in car stereo.
Car Toys, Seattle, said its recent tent sales in Denver, Portland, Ore., and Seattle were all up by double digits. Jim Warren, merchandising VP, attributes the strong sales to a strong “bargain hunting” mentality. “While we don’t know for certain, in the last two years, certainly, the economy has been down, and perhaps people are looking for more of a good buy than in the past. So the tent sale resonates strongly with the customer.”
Mickey Shorr, Pontiac, Mich., said its Car Warz tent sale this summer was up 4.5 percent over last year, and the 2003 sale was up 9.5 percent. “What we’re finding is we need to drive people into the store. Without advertising, it would be a pretty dismal summer for us. We increased advertising by about 7 percent for June through August over last year,” said general manager Jeff Pitts.
Discount Auto Sound, Virginia Beach, Va., said it held a very successful Car Wars 2 tent sale this July. Since the store depends heavily on sales from the military, it timed the sale for when an aircraft carrier returned and attracted “about 30,000 guys,” said president Les Ore.
Discount Auto Sound usually holds three Car Wars events per year, bringing in approximately $3 million to $4 million in total, or about 8 percent of the store’s sales. “It stimulates the public, gets people in there looking to see what they want to buy later on. It’s a big part of our business,” he said.
Car Toys events are sprawled over “20,000 square feet of canvas” and a total of 100,000 square feet of parking lot. Product highlights at the events this year included in-dash CD. “In-dash CD is the business that has really been struggling in the last two or three years, but at these three events alone, we sold over 3,000 players, which represents about a 20 percent increase in units year-over-year,” noted Warren.
Speakers, subwoofers and amps were also up significantly over the prior year’s sale, and MTX alone sold over 14 pallets of product at one of the three Car Toys events, Warren said.
A main attraction at the sales was the JL Audio display, where the company manufactured subwoofer boxes on the spot. “The customers loved it — actually being able to watch their box being built in front of them,” Warren said.
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