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NECO’s Boston Group Anticipates Tax-Free Sales Spike

Franklin, Mass. – The
Boston Group, one of five chapters of the NECO Alliance buying confederation, is
planning for a big weekend now that Massachusetts has authorized a last-minute
sales-tax moratorium Aug. 14-15.

The tax-free
holiday weekend is expected to boost major appliance sales by 10 percent to as
much as 30 percent over the prior-year period, when the state failed to approve
a tax freeze.

“This week business
is nothing,” the group’s marketing director and buyer Jim Cunningham told
TWICE. “But this weekend there’ll be mayhem.”

The sales spike
“is pretty significant in these times,” Cunningham said, and much needed
following an unusually slow July. Indeed, business had been very robust through
June, with the Boston Group enjoying a 20 percent increase during the state’s
federal stimulus “cash for appliances” program in May. The double-digit gain
“far outpaced the industry,” he said, thanks to Massachusetts’ aggressive
rebate amounts for refrigerators, laundry and dishwashers, and the chapter’s
strong local execution.

But despite the
strong room-air season, sales grew sluggish with the dog days of summer, making
the sudden tax holiday a welcomed gift.

Ironically, the
Boston Group had run much more aggressive promotions than the 6.25 percent
sales tax savings, but consumers tend to jump at the opportunity to get one
over on the government, he said. To help maximize the sales opportunity, the
NECO chapter is providing its dealers with pre-made ads, although many members
have also produced their own.

“We’re going to
promote the heck out of it,” Cunningham said.

The Boston Group,
like its NECO umbrella organization, was a former member of the now-defunct Key
America buying group, and has since become a division of the $12 billion
Nationwide Marketing Group. Cunningham said the chapter controls a third of the
majap market in Boston, right behind local sales leader Sears, due in part to
NECO’s shared warehousing facilities and rebate fulfillment program, which
helps cut dealer costs.

“We’re built for
troubled times,” he said.

The next event on
The Boston Group’s calendar is the annual NECO Alliance Expo and buy fair at
Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Mashantucket, Conn., Sept. 13-14. For more
information or to register, visit