By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
PHILADELPHIA — XM Satellite Radio will now be the only satellite radio service to be distributed through Almo Corp., an independent appliance and electronics distributor. The distributor will also offer a streamlined new activation service for XM Radio equipment for all dealers. According to Victor Henley, XM's director of retail distribution, the service will allow Almo's independent retailing clientele to “track and get paid for their activation commission directly through the Almo system.”
PHOENIX — Consumer electronics wholesaler, DBL Distributing, will be the exclusive distributor of EMPHASYS branded custom install speakers. Products in the mid-priced line include in-ceiling and in-wall LCR speakers. DBL will support the line for dealers with a dedicated Web site, a 12-page lifestyle brochure, point-of-sale displays and dealer-specific marketing materials. All EMPHASYS models are currently available for shipping. In other news, DBL Distributing was also recognized as the 74th largest cataloger in the United States on Multichannel Merchant magazine's “Top 100 Catalog Companies” ranking. The company also made the list in 2004, ranked 94th.
BEDFORD, TEXAS — Warrantech, provider of service contracts and after-market warranties, has signed a five-year agreement with PRO Group dealer Ovation Audio-Video. The agreement calls for Warrantech service contracts to be sold to Ovation customers under an exclusive private label on all A/V and mobile electronic products. With the new deal, said Sean Hicks, president of Warrantech Consumer Products, “Ovation can increase their profit margin, Warrantech gets a new strategic business partner, and satisfied customers bring in more business.” Separately, Warrantech has entered a one-year agreement with Los Angeles-based online retailer PeachDirect, which will market Warrantech warranties exclusively on all CE purchases for the term of the contract.
Van Nuys, Calif. — AVAD, distributor of custom installation products, is growing in a number of ways this year. The company has promoted from within and/or hired 15 people to the managerial staff over the past year. AVAD has also added three new distribution centers in Woburn, Mass., Austin, Texas, and Tampa, Fla., this year and it plans to open six more locations in October, which will mean the company will have a total of 36 distribution centers by the end of 2006. The centers are expected to be located in Las Vegas; San Jose, Calif.; downtown Chicago; Raleigh, N.C.; Richmond, Va. and Philadelphia.The distributor has also recently added brands like Goo Systems, Niveus Media and Toshiba to its product line up.
Des Moines, Iowa — DSI Systems, distributor of satellite and consumer electronics equipment, has released its Fall 2006 catalog, featuring new product lines from manufacturers including Monster Cable, Proview and Proscan. The company has mailed nearly 30,000 complimentary catalogs to independent retailers nationwide, and urges others who wish to receive it to contact the company directly. Separately, DSI has announced the dates of its WildBlue Satellite High-Speed Internet training seminars, which are set to take place this month at more than 30 locations across the country. Retailers interested in becoming WildBlue installers must complete pre-class training and attend a seminar.
Grovesport, Ohio — StarTech.com, a manufacturer of audio/video and IT products based here, has entered a distribution agreement with Woburn, Mass.-based wholesale distributor Professional Audio Associates, making StarTech.com's line of A/V converters, extenders, switches, splitters and cables available to Professional Audio's A/V dealer members. StarTech.com's IT products, including equipment racks and KVM switches, will also be available as a part of the initial product rollout.
Plainfield, Ind. — Leading wireless distributor Brightpoint has entered into an agreement with Newegg.com to supply the e-commerce IT company with wireless devices and a full lineup of accessories in the United States. Separately, Brightpoint has teamed up with BlueAnt, an Australian Bluetooth products distributor, to distribute BlueAnt's assortment in the U.S. BlueAnt's line includes the X3 Micro Bluetooth headset, the Supertooth II Bluetooth speaker, A2DP capable “Sonic” portable speakers and the X5 stereo Bluetooth headset.
Carlstadt, N.J. — BDI-Laugna, supplier of consumer electronics and computer products, has added Lowrance Electronics to its manufacturer portfolio. Tulsa, Okla.-based Lowrance Electronics is known for its outdoor and automotive GPS products, digital mapping systems and accessories.
San Rafael, Calif. — Novidor & Firestone, a manufacturers' representative specializing in high-end audio and video electronics has been awarded the Golden Dinky Link 2006 for “outstanding sales performance” by Xanatech Corporation. The company was given the award for having the territory with the highest percentage sales increase over the previous year.
REDWOOD SHORES, CALIF. — WYNIT, distributor of peripheral and consumer electronics products, will supply and represent the Wherifone GPS locator phone to its national retail members. The Wheriphone is a two-way cell phone with a built in Aided-GPS locator and managed dial features designed for parents to be able to locate their children quickly and control calling.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.