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BrandSource: White-Goods Sales Doing Well

LAS VEGAS – Major appliances, 40 percent of BrandSource’s annual volume, is doing better this year, according to John White, executive VP of major appliances for the $14 billion buying group.

BrandSource had added LG appliances to its Expert Warehouse program, and will add Samsung’s white goods shortly, among the brands it has in its programs.

During a meeting with TWICE at the group’s convention here last week, White discussed some industry issues facing the major appliance market as it turns towards the fall quarter.

Higher prices on major appliances have stuck thanks to higher prices on raw materials due to “a combination of new MAP policies [by vendors] and sanity from some big boxes that weren’t making money” in the category, White said.

When asked about the possible demise of Sears and how it may affect BrandSource members, he noted, “We share the same type of customers with Sears. If it were to go away, in theory, we would benefit … and so would Best Buy.”

But White added that Sears’ demise “would have a downside. [The industry] wouldn’t want Lowe’s or Home Depot” to take most of Sears’ industry-leading market share.

When asked how major appliance sales are doing by region, White said, “The trends aren’t really meaningful on an industry standard. The Midwest seems to be doing better, Texas is good, but both coasts – the West Coast and Northeast, are soft. There are pockets [of good sales] and things are better.”

Import tariffs have been imposed on Samsung, LG and Electrolux’s Mexican-made washers recently, and White said that prices “increased immediately,” but he does not think it will “hurt the consumer” in the long run.

As for the brands that BrandSource does business with, White noted that “our mix consists of mass premium brands. They are doing better.”

He added that some BrandSource members sell Sub-Zero and other luxury brands, but they are not tracked by the group.