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PRO Group Joins Forces With BrandSource

1/06/2011 12:01:00 AM Eastern
ANAHEIM, CALIF. — The Progressive Retailers Organization (PRO Group) has merged with Home Entertainment Source (HES), a division of the $14 billion BrandSource buying group.

The combined entity, called Pro- Source, formalizes a strategic partnership that was forged two years ago between the two specialty A/V buying organizations under The Alliance banner.

PRO, which serves larger regional dealers including Vann’s, Sixth Avenue Electronics and Huppin’s/OneCall, and HES, which is comprised of 550 smaller independents, will continue to operate as separate entities beneath the Pro- Source umbrella.

Dave Workman will continue as executive director/COO of PRO Group, and Jim Ristow remains executive VP of HES.

Together the two groups account for 950 storefronts and about $3.6 billion dollars in CE revenue, making ProSource the country’s largest buying and merchandising organization for premium CE specialty retailers, BrandSource said.

The merger, said ProSource, will help independent dealers expand their product lines, enter new categories and collectively place larger-volume orders with key vendors, which will increase the channel’s influence within the industry.

The new organization will also provide members with expanded advertising programs, e-commerce initiatives, business solutions and “best practices” sharing, ProSource said.

“The goal is to bring members from both organizations together to create the best and most influential merchandising group in the industry for the independent retailer,” said Workman.

Added Ristow: “This merger allows us to compete in compelling new ways by offering customers expert knowledge, the best vendors and the latest advances in CE solutions and technology. Key manufacturers will have a tremendous opportunity to optimize their positions in our storefronts as our members offer customized recommendations and hands-on demonstrations to the consumer.”

The merger continues the trend of buying group consolidation, as smaller independent organizations such as BrandSource’s Resource Plus division (formerly MARTA), and Nationwide Marketing Group’s NECO Alliance chapter, align themselves with larger groups.

The new ProSource organization formally debuted Wednesday, Jan. 5, at PRO Group’s annual CES-eve cocktail reception at Bally’s Hotel in Las Vegas.
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