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NATM Firing On All 12 Cylinders

The NATM Buying Corp., the 12-member consortium of independent box stores, gathered in Dallas for its annual vendor conference earlier this month, pumped up on share gains and primed for the fourth quarter.

The $6 billion buying group, comprised of the nation’s largest regional appliance and TV chains including P.C. Richard, Nebraska Furniture Mart and ABC Warehouse, is outpacing the industry in unit and dollar volume, executive director Jerry Satoren reported, providing a testament to the resiliency of full-service brick-and-mortar retail.

Appliance sales are up 10 percent in units year to date, roughly twice the industry average, and are on track to hit $2.2 billion for all of 2017 as NATM dealers siphon sales from Sears, Satoren said, giving the group a 6 percent share of the market.

On the TV side, where “enormous growth” in 4K displays still can’t offset declining prices and 1080p volume, the group is flat in units and up slightly in revenue year to date, compared with industrywide declines of 11 percent in units and 9 percent in dollars, he noted. Total NATM TV revenue is just under $1 billion, which translates into a 3 percent share of the U.S. television market and better than 10 percent of the premium TV segment.

Satoren, a longtime industry veteran who begins his fourth year as NATM’s point man, attributed the strong showing to a renewed sense of group unity, and to the superior service and selection offered by its member dealers, who dominate their respective markets.

His sentiments were echoed in a from-the-heart address by NATM president and P.C. Richard CEO Gregg Richard, who described the group as “the best electronics and appliance merchants in the U.S.”

“We’re battle-tested survivors; we’ve been through it all,” he told the gathering, which included some of the top names in CE and white-goods manufacturing.

Referencing the theme of the conference, Richard said it’s time now for the 47-year-old group to build on “the power of the past” and become “the force of the future.”