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Nationwide Pushes Profit Opportunities

Las Vegas – Nationwide
Marketing Group served up a rich platter of margin-building opportunities for
independent dealers at its biannual PrimeTime! show here earlier this week.

Profit drivers presented
to the 900 retail businesses on hand at the Venetian/Sands/Palazzo hotel and
convention complex included a full roster of tablet computers and accessories; a
line of elderly-friendly electronics called Senior Circuits; a movie, calibration
disc and HDMI cable bundle arranged through an exclusive deal with Disney; a
new private-label bedding line from Serta; and the addition of Universal Remote
Control (URC) to Nationwide’s vendor roster.

The group also emphasized
new opportunities for white-goods dealers and customer installers in smart-grid
appliances, and featured what Jeannette Howe, executive director of the group’s
Specialty Electronics Nationwide division, described as the first seminar to
bring together vendors (GE), utilities (NV Energy) and home-automation
suppliers (Control4).

To help members compete at the opening price point and drive more
traffic, the $12-billion buying, marketing and services group also added Sansui
to its roster of competitively priced TV brands, which includes Haier and Funai’s
Magnavox and Philips nameplates.

“More folks understand that they need to enter new categories
with better margins,” noted Robert Weisner, who last month succeeded the
retiring Ed Kelly as Nationwide’s president. To that end, major appliance
dealers have been adding mattresses to their mix to prop up profits amid
aggressive white-goods discounting, while furniture dealers are being
encouraged to consider CE and majaps as opportunities to build traffic and add incremental

Weisner said the group is also targeting the country’s thousands
of unaffiliated furniture dealers as a way to expand its ranks as members
retire or close shop, and plans to add several hundred furniture companies this
year. The 3,000-member group lost about 100 dealers through attrition in 2010
but brought 240 new retailers aboard.

To help members address succession issues and refresh their own
management skills, Nationwide will hold a small-business training conference
April 3-5 in Fort Worth, Texas.

Nationwide will return to the Lone Star State Aug. 21-24 for its
fall PrimeTime! event, which will be held at the Gaylord Texan in Dallas.