By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Home Entertainment Source (HES), the specialty A/V division of the Brand Source buying group, reported double-digit CE growth during 2007 and a membership roster that now approaches 500 members.
Jim Ristow, executive VP of HES, recapped during the group's annual International CES breakfast at Bally's how it and its numerous initiatives fared last year. Ristow said the group's CE business went up 16 percent overall. He also said the group's membership has grown as well to almost 500 members.
The group added new lines throughout the year from a variety of companies including LG, Sony, Mitsubishi Diamond, Integra and Niles.
Ristow mentioned how HES had offered Black Friday promotions for the first time in 2007, on a 42-inch LCD TV and a 50-inch plasma TV. Ristow said that many members had seen a positive response to the promos and said he imagined the group would probably provide its dealers similar tools next year.
Ristow reported that the group's Expert Warehouse program saw sales increase more than 20 percent in 2007 and said that it sold 10,000 panels a month on average.
He also announced that the Expert Warehouse will be the first authorized group distribution program to provide fulfillment on JVC's D-ILA projectors.
The group's Custom Warehouse division saw a 32 percent increase in sales in 2007, Ristow said, noting it had added products from Leviton and DVDO to its lineup card.
Finally, Ristow touched on Brand Source's latest division, its Mobile Entertainment Source (MES), a new car stereo buying co-op it formed in partnership with the Mobile Enhancement Retailers Association (MERA). Additional lines announced at CES included JL Audio, Alpine, Eclipse, HushMat and Mitek.
Regarding the group's move into the mobile entertainment category, Ristow told TWICE, "The mobile industry is struggling right now. If someone doesn't do something, the future isn't bright.
"We think our business model will help revitalize the industry for both members and vendors," he said.
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.