Tokyo — Home Entertainment Source (HES), the A/V specialty division of the AVB/BrandSource buying group, recently completed a round of high-level sit-downs here with senior executives from Hitachi, Sharp and Pioneer.
The headquarters meetings with the group’s top video vendors provided insight into their global strategies and market direction within the United States, as HES develops its own short- and long-term merchandising strategies.
Representing HES was Brand Source CEO Bob Lawrence; Jim Ristow, general manager of HES; and HES president Bob Cole, principal of World Wide Stereo. Also in attendance were group members Jeff Webb of A&B TV and Stuart Snowden of Stuart’s AV.
Sharp hosted HES at its headquarters. Pictured, from left, are Sharp’s Yuji Nishiyama, Mike Fleming, Bob Lawrence, Brand Source, and HES’s Bob Cole, Jim Ristow, Jeff Webb and Stuart Snowden.
“The continued success of our group and its members require that we maintain open dialogue with our suppliers to ensure that products well-suited to the A/V specialist continue to be developed, along with a distribution and sales strategy that makes sense for our members,” Ristow said.
Ristow noted that members’ cumulative sales were up over 30 percent last year, outpacing the industry’s 8 percent growth rate in 2006.
During the meetings, the HES contingent also provided its suppliers with an overview of the group’s four-year-old Expert Warehouse program, which provides an efficient means for manufacturers to sell and distribute their premium products to a national network of A/V specialists. Sales through Expert Warehouse increased more than 50 percent last year, HES said.
The not-for-profit specialty group has more than 475 members and more than $1.3 billion in annual sales.