Minneapolis — Home Entertainment Source (HES), the A/V specialty division of Brand Source, had a board meeting to review and analyze the group’s long-term business plans.
The seven-member board, including group president Bob Cole, met with group GM Jim Ristow and his staff of five regional managers, here. Both board and staff members worked to review and analyze the HES business plan to ensure the group was working toward meeting the long-term goals which the board had previously established through the year 2010, the group said.
Communication to group members remains a top priority as independent retailers work through the challenges presented by a volatile flat-panel market. “While many of the market assumptions initially established remain true, there is no doubt that the market has become more dynamic and volatile than expected. Outside of Best Buy and the independent retailer, many are struggling to remain profitable in CE,” said Ristow.
HES president Bob Cole and group GM Jim Ristow.
“Many of the business models in the vendor community have changed dramatically over the past two years with many video manufacturers de-emphasizing a direct relationship with the smaller independent retailer. This is where HES has been able to carve out a unique niche as the best alternative to a ‘National Retailer’ to the vendor community. No other group is in a position to forecast out their business, write the purchase order, and offer one billing account and three ship-to locations,” Ristow added.
“This not only allows us to efficiently plan out our scheduled business but also puts us in a position where we can take advantage of spot buys, putting our members in a position of strength in their local markets. This positioning allows them to effectively compete against other independents and national retailers,” he noted.
In recent times the video industry has gone from an allocation position to an over inventory situation. With new suppliers entering the market, a surplus of inventory, manufacturers cutting price, and flat-screen technologies battling against each other, the biggest challenge independent retailers/integrators face today is knowing which technology, brands and models to focus on, HES said.
That is why the group-to-member relationship has morphed into a consultative role. Because of this HES will continue to improve communication to members by utilizing their five regional managers to conduct in-field visits. This face-to-face interaction provides HES with an opportunity to further demonstrate the value of their group, the group said.
Ristow estimated that his regional managers have conducted more than 250 store visits since last summer and plan to surpass that number for calendar 2007.
The in-field visits offer the group an opportunity to deliver its message but also provide members a voice so that group executives and suppliers better understand their needs. “Delivering information directly to our members in a clear, concise manner will be what really sets us apart from competing suppliers,” stated Ristow.
HES is a not-for-profit organization with approximately 500 members with annual sales exceeding $1.4 billion, the group said.