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HES’ Ristow Reviews ’07 At Breakfast

LAS VEGAS — Home Entertainment Source, a division of AVB/Brand Source buying group, hosted a dealer breakfast Monday at Bally’s during International CES.

Jim Ristow, executive VP of HES, used the event as an opportunity to provide a recap of how the group and its various divisions fared last year. Ristow said the group’s CE business went up 16 percent overall globally. He also said the group’s membership has grown as well to almost 500 members.

The group added new lines throughout the year from a variety of companies including LG, Sony, Mitsubishi Diamond, Integra and Niles.

Ristow mentioned how the group had offered Black Friday promotions for the first time in 2007, on a 42-inch LCD TV and a 50-inch plasma TV. Ristow said that many members had shown a positive response to the promos and he said he imagined the group would probably provide similar tools next year.

Ristow reported that the group’s Expert Warehouse division saw sales increase more than 20 percent in 2007 and said that it sold 10,000 panels/month on average.

He also announced that the Expert Warehouse will be the first authorized group to do fulfillment for JVD D-ILA projectors.

The group’s Custom Warehouse division was said to have seen a 32 percent increase in sales in 2007. Ristow said it had added products from Leviton and DVDO to its line card.

Finally, Ristow touched on the group’s latest division, its Mobile Entertainment Source (MES), a new car stereo buying co-op it formed in partnership with the Mobile Enhancement Retailers Association (MERA). He said the group was announcing the addition of the following lines at CES: JL Audio, Alpine, Eclipse, HushMat and Mitek.

Regarding the group’s move into the mobile entertainment category, Ristow told TWICE, “The mobile industry is struggling right now. If someone doesn’t do something, the future isn’t bright.”

“We think our business model will help revitalize the industry for both members and vendors,” he added.

The group will host a meeting for the soft launch of Mobile Entertainment Source at CES on Tuesday morning in the LVCC, South Hall room 206, at 8:30 a.m.