Independent retailers like Mark Lynch of Jeff Lynch Appliance, a TWICE Top 100 majap dealer in Greenville, S.C., are feeling more than a little used and abused by white-goods manufacturers. Lynch dutifully meets all of their franchise requirements, and maintains an idealized 75,000-square-foot showroom and crackerjack sales team with which to spotlight their wares. But often his sales floor is used in the service of at-cost competitors like catalog showroom DirectBuy, Internet-only retailers, and at least one manufacturer’s own VIP program.
“You can’t sell it to me and then sell against me,” he told TWICE. “We have volume requirements to hit, and they’re undermining everything we do. They’re gutting our premium business and stabbing us in the back.” Lynch is calling for a return to controlled distribution in order to level the playing field and support the attractive stores, compelling displays, high-margin mix and top-flight service of value-added dealers.