San Antonio — The Progressive Retailers Organization was at the Westin La Cantera Hill Coun
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PRO Group does not exist on HDTV alone. Home audio, custom installation, satellite radio and other categories are other important keys to their business.
Roger Heuberger, president/CEO of PRO, said the group is doing better in home audio by “getting smarter in the attachment business” by selling audio systems with HDTVs.
George Manlove, president/CEO of Vann's, commented, “We think the custom business is quite healthy and that has to do with our sweet spot to appeal to a broad selection of consumers. We are not trying to be all things to all consumers.”
But Walt Stinson, co-founder of ListenUp, stated, “The days of being able to sell dumb audio products are numbered. The success of the iPod is as much about smart application software as it is about smart hardware.”
He added, “We are planning for a new generation of audio technology that will dominate our sales going forward and hope to see them emerge from traditional vendors in the next 12 months. If not, they will emerge from nontraditional suppliers.”
Aside from iPod and MP3 in general, satellite sales have also been “wonderful,” said Heuberger, and is an example of how retailers “must continue to innovate. In the last quarter we had a lot of sales and had a lot of buzz from these categories that didn't exist for us a year or two ago.”
As for PRO's status with home networking, Stinson remarked, “We are 'pulling wire' anyway, so we are deep in that.”
Heuberger reminded, “People don't realize that [PRO is] probably one the largest installation networks in America. We have about 500 installers working every week, except for Ultimate. You have begun to see a large number of group members involved, with some on different levels” of offerings.