Celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Crosley brand this month, Crosley Corp. is looking to new products introduced at its recent national convention to maintain the strong sales pace it has achieved this year.[text]Buddy Dixson Sr., Crosley Corp.'s president-CEO, tells TWICE that the controlled-brand group's 75 distribution centers had targeted a 15% sales increase this year -- and were running ahead of those targets as of mid-September. June, in fact, was the largest sales month the company has had since it was launched in its current incarnation in 1976.
In freezers, for example, he says the group's sales are running "considerably ahead of the 1994 rate, which was Crosley's record-breaking year on freezers."
Among the new products introduced at the convention -- whose theme was "Fast Forward" -- was a 13-cubic-foot automatic defrost refrigerator, which Crosley says is the lowest-priced in the industry. The new unit will "enable independent dealers to beat the bait advertising of the price-hog stores," Dixson states.
Other new refrigerators include a deluxe 15-cubic-foot unit and crushed-ice models at lower price points.
Crosley also introduced a totally redesigned line of built-in appliances, complete with display racks, as well as new Diamond Jubilee ranges, washers and dryers, and dishwashers.
In electronics, the full-line distributor group added six new audio rack systems with remote controls, delivered fully assembled for rapid turnover on dealers' floors, plus a new 20-inch color TV set with lighted remote control.
This fall Crosley is bringing back its successful consumer giveaway of a 22-pound box of Crosley detergent, to emphasize the 22-pound capacity of its washers. The laundry line displays the registered slogan, "Crosley on a product is like Sterling on silver."
Retailers who sell Crosley products will also receive a Christmas sales flier early in November to help publicize their stores. "The price-hog stores are moving into what once was safe turf for independent dealers," Dixson explains. And in response to that threat, dealers "are asking for more sales help to fight this new menace that they are fighting on the killing fields."
The Crosley name has a long history with independent retailers. First used by Powel Crosley Jr. on radios in the early 1920s, the brand turned up on the first refrigerators to have shelves in their doors -- the Crosley Shelvador -- 10 years later.
The Crosley refrigerator brand was acquired by Philco in the mid-1950s. When Philco's successor company decided to pull out of the refrigerator business in 1976, leaving its Cold Guard refrigerator distributors with no refrigerator line to distribute, a number of those distributors got together, acquired rights to the Crosley name and formed the Crosley Group, later Crosley Corp.
Turner, Russell Promoted At Frigidaire Co.
Frigidaire Co.'s sales and marketing responsibilities are now being overseen by two executives instead of one, in the wake of Jim Mishler's recent resignation.
Mishler, who had been Frigidaire's executive VP of sales and marketing, left the appliance manufacturer at the end of September to head up sales for the Pella Window Corp. in Pella, Iowa. His responsibilities at Frigidaire have been divided between Fred Turner, now sales VP, and Bob Russell, newly named VP.
Turner has assumed responsibility for all sales and merchandising operations. He joined the company in April 1994 as VP of sales operations. Russell, with Frigidaire since December 1992, had been VP of product planning and communications. His broadened role includes product planning, marketing communications, logistics and consumer service.
Both report directly to Frigidaire president Hans Backman.
"Both Fred Turner and Bob Russell have been instrumental in formulating and executing our strategies along with Jim. Their expanded involvement will assure maximum continuity," Backman says.--Cathy Ciccolella
By Cathy Ciccolella
As the key fourth-quarter selling season gets underway, major appliance manufacturers are revving up their promotional engines to boost year-end sales volumes -- and to win their share of discretionary income from consumers who may have gift-shopping foremost in their minds very soon.
Many promotional offers that began earlier in the second half are continuing through the end of the year. Factory-direct cash rebates and special delayed-interest finance offers remain the most-used promotions for this year's fourth quarter. Some suppliers are offering premiums with purchases as well.