New York — The NATM Buying Corp. has added Sharp Electronics to its core vendor matrix.
The manufacturer joins Toshiba and Samsung as preferred NATM providers for the group’s current fiscal year. By definition, core vendors do business with each of NATM’s 12 member dealers on a program basis.
Sharp’s addition completes a selection process started last March, when the buying group began its annual reevaluation of core suppliers. Only Toshiba continues its core status from last year’s grouping, which included Hitachi, Mitsubishi and Sony.
Sony, which still supports all 12 NATM dealers and maintains a strong relationship with the group, lost its core status when it decided this past spring to cease funding buying group co-op programs and to redirect its marketing funds to individual dealers.
NATM’s president and executive director Bill Trawick was unavailable for comment, but had previously told TWICE that the group would maintain three core programs this year in order to allow members to spend half of their open-to-buy dollars on outside brands.
He also stressed that “You shouldn’t read too much into the advantages of core status,” noting that non-core vendors often do as much or more business through NATM dealers than do core suppliers.
For its part, Sharp described its selection as “a testament to the strength of Sharp’s consumer products,” said A/V sales senior VP Steven McNally. “Being appointed as the core vendor in such a strong buying group is further proof that Sharp products” — including its Aquos line of LCD TVs — “represent top-of-the-line solutions that take home entertainment to the next level of both design and technology.”