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Tivoli Moves To Boost Retail Distribution

7/21/2008 01:50:00 PM Eastern

Boston — Tivoli Audio plans to build up the U.S. retail base for its tabletop radio products with the appointment of Lenbrook America as its exclusive distributor to the nation’s brick-and-mortar retailers, including custom installers.

Lenbrook, the Sharon, Mass.-based owner and marketer of the PSB and NAD specialty audio brands, will take over Tivoli’s dealer distribution on Sept. 1. Tivoli, however, will continue to market its products direct to consumers, corporations and a handful of online dealers, said Bob Brown, Tivoli president/COO and former Lenbrook America president. Tivoli “will lead brand marketing in the U.S.,” he added.

“The U.S. dealer business was not getting the attention it needed,” Brown said of the change. “We had so many things going on, including the international business, which was tremendous.” In the United States, Tivoli has “a few hundred” retail accounts, Brown said.

In turning to Lenbrook, Tivoli found that it could leverage Lenbrook’s existing infrastructure and familiarity with selling premium audio equipment to premium dealers, Brown explained. Lenbrook will be able to field reps and trainers to every territory in the United States, whereas Tivoli currently lacks reps “in whole regions of the country,” said Brown, who came on board about three months ago. Lenbrook will also make sales trainers available in the United States, whereas Tivoli’s trainers were focused on international markets. Lenbrook has the option to retain Tivoli’s current reps, he noted.

Brown called Tivoli’s relationship with Lenbrook less like a traditional two-step distributor relationship and more like a “conventional export distributor relationship modified for the U.S. market.” In fact, Lenbrook has been Tivoli’s exclusive export distributor in Canada and Singapore. When Lenbrook takes over U.S. dealer distribution, the company will own the dealer customer and get authority over activities such as co-op ad policies, other dealer programs, and trade advertising if the company chose to run trade ads, Brown said.

Nonetheless, “all [consumer] advertising and [consumer] marketing will come out of here [Tivoli] because we are already doing it,” Brown said. Those activities include direct-response ads in consumer publications such as the New York Times.

“As brand owners, Lenbrook is sensitive to the strategic difference between building a brand image and simply distributing product,” Brown continued. “Tivoli presents Lenbrook with a brand that has been carefully nurtured and built into the premium position of its class in the industry.” Lenbrook also owns the QED brand of cables.

Said Lenbrook America GM/COO Stacey Kerek, “Tivoli’s reputation as ‘best in its class’ blends well with our brands NAD Electronics, PSB Speakers and QED Cables.”

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