San Antonio — The Progressive Retailers Organization was at the Westin La Cantera Hill Coun
TWICE: Which categories are doing well at this point? What categories do you expect to do well in the second half?
Warren Chaiken, Almo: Flat panels continue to be very strong when supplies are available. DVD, home theater, A/V accessories that complete the home entertainment experience are also solid sellers. Hot seasonal items will continue to be GPS and photo/video products.
David Kaplan, DDG: Flat panel, lighting control and HVAC are doing well and are expected to grow throughout the year. We are bullish on Mitsubishi's new 82-inch DLP as well as their new 40-inch LCD TV with integrated sound projector speaker system, both of which ship in June.
J. Mark Howell, Brightpoint Americas: Fixed fee, pay-as-you-go and prepaid [wireless] service offerings are doing extremely well, so the handsets associated with these programs are in the highest demand. In addition, we continue to believe that the functionality of the smart device is where real value will be found. Touchscreen, media, Web-browsing, access and functionality of unique applications — these are the features that will matter as consumers gain confidence and begin to replace incumbent wireless devices.
Mark Gustavson, WYNIT: There is nothing profound in the fact that “needs” trump “wants” in a slow economy. Business-critical categories, such as consumables, are doing well, and we expect that to continue.
Ron Eby, D&H Distributing: Storage has been doing well. People are still spending on hard drives, and consumers are still willing to invest to be able to accommodate and protect the amount of digital content they've been building over the years. Also, the transition of HDTV has been pushed back, but once that builds momentum, we'll see more of the TV business turning around. Mobility is a solid category, led by netbook and notebook sales.
R.J. Hirshkind, ADI: Commercial A/V is strong. While there was a slight slowdown in this space, it hasn't been dramatic, and we expect a quicker recovery. We have great relationships with both customers and suppliers and expect to continue to do well in this category. Sales have been strong with a number of our commercial vendors, including Crown, JBL, Pro, Speco, Atlas and Bogen.
Jeff Kussard, Capitol Sales: TV is doing well, but it would be a lot stronger if we only had the inventory. That said, personal entertainment and related accessories are still in high demand, thanks in no small part to the iPhone phenomenon. I expect this category to remain strong right through the holidays and well into 2010.
Stephen Bodnarchuk, M. Rothman & Company: Flat-panel TV remains strong. LCD TVs and Blu-ray Disc players will experience robust sales in the second half. We will also see numerous new offerings in the LED TV space. The increased availability of the new technology will lead to positive sales growth in LED TVs.
Morey Gottesman, Cardinal Electronics: Our strength is our audio lineup, and we will continue to play to our strength. Our partnerships with Yamaha, Denon and Infinity make us a “go to” destination for quality audio products. We fully expect that trend to continue in the second half.