By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Fueled by brisk business on the East and West Coasts, as well as its consultative selling model and “enlightened management,” the Progressive Retailers Organization (PRO Group) ended 2004 with sales approaching the $2.4 billion level, representing a mid-single-digit increase for the 18-member buying group.
According to executive director and newly elected president/CEO Roger Heuberger, the sales assortment was narrow but deep, and demonstrated that PRO's service-oriented dealers were equally adept at selling “go-go products” like XM radios and iPods as they are at custom installations.
Moreover, PRO dealers are “finding ways to make money” through strong attachment sales, as demonstrated by their average of nearly four accessories sold with every iPod purchase. “We do live in both worlds,” Heuberger told TWICE during a PRO cocktail event at Bally's, here, on the eve of International CES.
Also aiding business is the media's current fascination with CE. “There's some buzz story almost every week in national and local newspapers,” he noted. “Our industry is back in fashion.”
Taken together, members enjoyed “the most upbeat holiday in many years,” Heuberger observed. “It was a good fourth quarter.”
Looking ahead, Heuberger said that the group's 316 storefronts will likely pump out about $2.5 billion in sales this year, which also marks the 20th anniversary of the buying group.
In other PRO news, Ovation's Gary McCormick was elected VP/treasurer; Tweeter's Jeff Stone was elected secretary and continues as VP; and George Manlove of Vann's was named chairman of the group after passing his president's title to Heuberger.
In remarks before the group, Heuberger also paid tribute to the late Ken Crane, founder of Ken Cranes Home Entertainment City, and Bob White, VP and partner of Bjorn's, who passed away last month (see story, below).
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.