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HES Enhances Member Programs

Dallas — Home Entertainment Source (HES), the 10-year-old specialty A/V division of the Brand Source buying group, is rolling out a slew of new programs and services to give its member dealers another leg up in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

The initiatives, announced here during the group’s third annual Summit meeting and buy fair this week at the Hilton Anatole, include an HES consumer Web site, to launch next month, and links to member pages generated by searches on Google’s shopping engine. The service will be free to members for the first year and $600 annually thereafter.

The group is also forging ahead with plans to develop an overarching branding strategy that will provide national exposure to member dealers beneath the HES banner.

Elsewhere, HES has added Hitachi, Mitsubishi and, effective May 1, Panasonic to its Expert Warehouse distribution program, while existent suppliers Samsung and Sharp will join Pioneer in providing tiered vendor rebates to large volume dealers. In addition, dealers who are shipped direct from Sharp, JVC and Hitachi can now centralize their billing through HES in order to leverage the group’s favorable inventory allocations.

“The vendors now regard us as one big national dealer,” said Jim Ristow, the group’s executive director.

Indeed, with $1.2 billion in sales and 675 storefronts, HES is now a larger CE factor than Tweeter, Ultimate Electronics and most of its rival buying groups, Ristow observed. Growth is also exceeding the competition, with sales up 27 percent last year versus the industry’s 11.5 percent gains.

Sharing the spotlight with HES today is umbrella group Brand Source, which is expected to unveil a Whole Home Source concept that leverage’s the group’s multiple specialty divisions including bedding, premium appliances, home entertainment and a just-announced flooring chapter.

Brand Source’s National Convention & Buy Fair runs through Tuesday.