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American TV Leaving NATM

Madison, Wis. – American TV & Appliance has withdrawn its membership from NATM Buying Corp. and will form a strategic alliance with former group member H.H. Gregg.

American, a 10-store CE, majap and furniture chain with locations in Wisconsin, northern Illinois, northwest Michigan and Iowa, will formally leave the group next week.

The sudden departure – NATM executive director Bill Trawick said American gave official notice on Friday – will represent the group’s third loss since August.

Indeed, it was the departure of Indianapolis-based H.H. Gregg in September that prompted American to follow suit, said American senior VP Dave Shepard. ‘We were closest to Gregg, our companies are quite similar in the way we see things and go to market, and when they left it created a number of challenges for us.’

Shepard said that while NATM is effective at securing good pricing for its members, and that his company’s 16-year membership was a positive for the chain, the group’s ‘tremendous diversity of dealers and their approaches’ made it difficult to establish best practices in areas of concern to American.

‘For us it’s not solely about buying products,’ Shepard said. ‘It’s about how you distribute and service them, and how you talk to the consumer.’

He noted that American shares the same business philosophy as Gregg, and that the two companies would work together on marketing, distribution, service and backroom issues as well as vendor relationships. He stressed that the dealers are not merging, and that there is no intention of forming a new buying group.

The departures of American, Gregg and, earlier, Sight ‘n Sound, leaves NATM with eight members, including the returning Queen City TV & Appliance, which re-joined the group in November.