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H.H. Gregg Leaving NATM

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. – Midwest CE and majap powerhouse H.H. Gregg has withdrawn its membership from the NATM Buying Corp. and will officially leave the group Sept. 30.

The chain, which operates 48 stores in Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee, said it chose to end its 10-year membership in NATM in order to avoid territorial conflicts with fellow dealers as it continues to expand into multiple regional markets.

Indeed, Gregg has been pursuing an aggressive expansion strategy that has catapulted its store count from 18 to 48 units over the past five years. Last April, the privately held company announced plans to enter the Atlanta market in 2003 with 11 stores and a central distribution center to support them.

For NATM, the departure represents the second loss of a member dealer within a month, bringing its roster down to nine. Earlier this month, Sight ‘n Sound Appliance Centers withdrew from the buying group after it was acquired by Aaron Rents, which operates stores within members’ markets.

Ernie Olson, director of operations and marketing for NATM, said the loss of Gregg’s volume – estimated at $64 million in CE and $28 million in majaps, according to the TWICE Retail Registries – “is not good.” He noted that NATM will “entertain new membership if it’s right for the group.”

Olson added that NATM directors would meet soon to elect a new group president to succeed H.H. Gregg CEO Jerry Throgmartin, who currently holds that post.