— Brand Source, the $14 billion home-goods buying group, is entering the burgeoning mobile CE business and is testing the solar-power waters to help dealers diversify their assortments.
The efforts are intended to help members build business within a sluggish marketplace marked by deep discounting and sagging consumer sentiment. Indeed, CEO Bob Lawrence described the summer months as “the toughest” 60 days in his career at the group’s fall convention here this month, while keynoter Jim Campbell, CEO of GE Appliances, urged dealers to temper their product mix to remain price-competitive with big-box chains.
The mobile program, dubbed Connected Source, is a turnkey solution that will allow dealers to easily enter the wireless broadband business. In-store beta tests will begin in the fourth quarter, executives said, and a similar service for solar power is in the works.