LAS VEGAS — “The whole world is here,” said Noel Lee, head monster at Monster Cable Products, as he tipped his monstrous hat to 250 international retailers and distributors attending Monster’s “The Best Meets the Best” dinner at the Paris Hotel, here, Wednesday night.
Monster, which annually brings together its international team at International CES for an evening of bonding and awards, included a lineup of guest speakers that included some of the top executives in U.S. retailing.
“I believe this is an extraordinary meeting of retailers from all over the world that does not occur ever in our industry,” said Lee, who is Monster’s founder and CEO.
Calling “The Best” dinner a place to build relationships and to learn retailing, not only in the United States, but in other countries, that may benefit international guests in their own businesses, Lee said the evening “sets the stage for future visits and dialog, even if it is only on a personal level. The world is a big place, and everyone can share best practices to learn.”
Lee, who called Monster’s power-packed speaker lineup the “best of U.S. retailers,” said their “wisdom will bring tremendous insight to trends and economics that may affect your business.” In the audience were retailers from Europe, Canada, South America, Mexico, Japan, the Middle East, China, Australia, Russia and a host of other countries.
Representing the North American speakers were Len Roberts, RadioShack’s CEO; Shawn Score, senior VP/sales development, Best Buy North America; Kevin Layden, president/chief operating officer, Best Buy Canada; Mark Smucker, VP/merchandising, Circuit City; and Larry Mondry, CompUSA’s CEO. Jerry McDougal, VP/retail merchandising at Apple, also was a guest speaker.
“Everyone at Monster is a partial clone of Noel,” said Roberts about the work ethic and energetic leadership of head monster Lee. It is the wrong philosophy to have just the RadioShack brand in our stores, said Roberts, in tribute to the Monster cabling products RadioShack has been selling since last June. “We’ve sold millions and millions of dollars of the stuff,” said Roberts about the Monster cabling line. “Monster enhanced our profitability.”
Best Buy’s Score, who said, “It is tough to be a customer in the market today,” cited Monster’s M4 training program for a good deal of help elevating Best Buy store personnel. This includes merchandise mix, merchandising, Monster training and management commitment. “We need Monster to help figure out this complex business,” said Score.
“We need Noel [Lee] to clone himself and be in all our stores with all his energy,” said CompUSA’s Mondry about Monster’s top exec. Mondry, who said the combined CompUSA/Monster goal is to “make technology easy for customers,” emphasized that there is an underserved market out there in American retailing, namely the home office/small office and small- to medium-sized businesses. He said he sees an opportunity for people with four, six or eight PCs — “an opportunity for us to install networks,” he said.
Circuit City’s Smucker said there is a “need to get back to selling accessories as an important add-on purchase.” He emphasized it was Circuit’s job to offer customers information and advice to make a purchase easier. It is “consumer relevance” that will help strengthen our partnership with Monster,” he said.
Best Buy Canada’s Layden said, “We get a tremendous amount of energy from Monster, especially in operations.”
Monster presented the international retailer special recognition award at its dinner to the Dixon Store Group of Ireland; the Plug-Ins of Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Powerhouse of England; and Vanden Borre of Belgium.
International retailer silver awards, presented by Monster, included BCC of the Netherlands; Best Buy Canada; Groupe Dumoulin, also of Canada; Harvey Norman of Australia; and SoundsAround, once again Canada.