Dallas - The NATM Buying Corp.'s 11 leading regional retailers are riding out the recession by cutting costs, opening stores, entering new categories, and otherwise hunkering down until the economy recovers.
"Our members are strong and well financed," said the buying group's president and executive director Bill Trawick, and NATM is maintaining its market share in a stagnant, if not declining, environment for TVs and major appliances.
Speaking at the group's annual conference here yesterday at the Ritz-Carlton, Trawick and NATM operations director Michael Maund pointed to consumer insecurity, the ailing housing market and flat-panel saturation as key contributors to flagging CE and majap sales.
To help bolster its members, the buying group is considering new tactics including operational initiatives to reduce costs and a direct-sourcing program to bring in accessories and other categories from China.
NATM has also extended its mix to gaming and PCs, with Nintendo, Microsoft, Sony PlayStation, Dell and Samsung's computer unit among the conference's first-time attendees.
Dealers themselves are combating the soft economy by opening new stores, relocating older ones, and testing new formats and product categories. P.C. Richard & Son plans to open its seventh Connecticut store in October along with a regional distribution center to support them, president Gregg Richard told TWICE, while Abt Electronics continues to add new categories like jewelry, water heaters and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), president Mike Abt said.
Similarly, Florida-based BrandsMart USA is opening its first "small"-format showroom Oct. 10 near the upscale Dadeland Mall in South Miami, reported CEO Bob Perlman, and Tennessee-based Electronic Express will relocate its 8,000-square-foot Murfreesboro store to a new 26,000-square-foot site in October, making it the 17-store chain's largest location, president Sam Yazdian said.