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Brand Source Entering New Product Categories


— 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.