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Buying Groups To Confer On Key Issues

The heads of the industry’s three largest retail buying groups have agreed to hold discussions on a wide range of strategic issues impacting independent dealers.

The executives — Bob Lawrence of Associated Volume Buyers, Bill Trawick of NATM and Lee Guttman of Nationwide TV & Appliances — will first focus on creating an open platform business-to-business Web site, according to a statement issued by NATM. The site would provide dealers and vendors with online sales, ordering, shipment tracking and other back office functions.

Other issues on the agenda include the enhancement of distribution efficiencies, product distribution issues, industry direction within each product category, and back room cost reduction through a sharing of best practices.

The groups emphasized that they will continue to function as separate entities, and are only coming together on critical issues affecting their member dealers. The move is seen as a response to ongoing consolidation in CE and majap retail, and to the relentless market share gains by the largest national chains.