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HES Adds Toshiba, Expands Sony, Panasonic, LG Programs

Dallas — Home Entertainment Source (HES), the specialty A/V division of the $10 billion-plus Brand Source buying organization, has added Toshiba to its vendor ranks.

The announcement was made this morning by HES executive VP Jim Ristow during the 500-dealer group’s annual Spring Summit and buy fair, held here this week at the Hilton Anatole.

Toshiba, a longtime supplier of sister group MARTA Cooperative of America, has also joined Expert Warehouse, HES’ inventory distribution program.

Also joining the HES supplier set is Escient, the digital media management unit of D&M Holdings.

Ristow also announced expanded programs with current vendors Sony, Panasonic and LG at this morning’s general session. Sony will supply the $1.4 billion group with products from its CS&A custom installation line, Panasonic will provide its 750 and top-of-the-line Viera PZ850 series of 1080p plasma TVs, and LG is offering its high-end Opus LCD TV line.

The product additions will also be available to HES members through Expert Warehouse, which has enjoyed a 35-percent spike in sales during the first two months of the year, Ristow told TWICE. He attributed the gains to higher dealer sales and consolidated purchasing through the warehouse distribution program, which allows smaller accounts to participate in vendor-direct programs with otherwise prohibitively high order requirements.
Manufacturers supplying Brand Source’s 12-volt division, Mobile Entertainment Source, will be joining the warehouse program in April.
Also new through Expert Warehouse is a hybrid program with Samsung that provides qualified dealers with the advantages of a direct-sell relationship, including longer price protection, volume rebates and a better demo program, albeit with a smaller commitment to buy.

Ristow added that “the vast majority” of HES dealers will be participating in the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s DTV set-top box coupon program, and that the group has stockpiled “thousands” of  Zenith and off-brand converter boxes in anticipation of the analog cut-off.

The Summit, which this year carries the theme “Mission Possible: Success,” will continue tomorrow with Brand Source’s general session and the opening of the buy fair. More than 3,500 members and suppliers are attending this week’s convention, which ends Wednesday.