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New Age Gathering Ponders Impact Of Windows 10, IoT Products

HOLLYWOOD, CALIF. – The launch of Windows 10 and the growing confluence of connectliving devices were top of mind at New Age Electronics’ Retail Dealer Summit here last month.

The annual event, held this year at the Loew’s Hollywood Hotel under the theme “Live it Like a Star,” brought together luminaries from the retail and vendor communities to hobnob and hear the latest in industry trends and opportunities.

On the latter point, New Age president Fred Towns in an opening presentation urged retailers to be cognizant of millennials’ short attention spans and reliance on peer reviews when marketing to this all-important demographic.

He also advised dealers to be “retail-ready” by investing in wearables, and consider bundling when merchandising the devices, particularly for holiday.

“There are significant opportunities in emerging devices,” he counseled.

In a keynote address, Ron Coughlin, senior VP and general manager of HP’s personal systems global business unit, pointed to “a major shift to low-end” devices amid continued highend growth. The latter, he said, is being driven by innovations in form factor, such as curved monitors, two-in-one notebooks and all-in-one 3D desktops, and a convergence of commercial and retail products reflecting the former’s desire for the latter.

He also described Win10 as a “major, major opportunity,” based on a pre-launch sale on HSN that quickly exhausted its stock and exceeded sales expectations by 30 percent.

High expectations for the new operating sys- New Age Gathering Ponders Impact Of Windows 10, IoT Products New Day Dawns For The Nationwide Marketing Group By Alan Wolf [email protected] LAS VEGAS — There’s a new sheriff in town in Las Vegas, as members and vendors attending the Nationwide Marketing Group’s PrimeTime convention here this week are learning. For the first time in the organization’s 44-year history, a non-founding father – newly named CEO Dave Bilas – is running the show. Indeed, the last members of the first-generation management team — Robert Weisner, who helped create the current group, and Les Kirk, who directed its finances for some 15 years — have now retired as co-CEOs. The two have been succeeded by Bilas, a former GE Appliance exec who was promoted from president/COO, and by executive VP Jeff Knock, who was promoted to chief commercial officer. In addition, senior electronics VP Tom Hickman and member services senior VP Frank Sandtner were both named executive VPs. Dawn Carpenter continues on the executive team as chief financial officer. The new management team is taking the helm as the CE, appliance and retail industries face epochal changes that present unprecedented opportunities for dealers, Knock said. To that end, Prime- Time, held under the theme of “Game Changer,” will emphasize the group’s aggressive Prepare For Share (PFS) strategy, designed to wrench sales from local competitors. (Visit for the latest reports from the show.) The management changes follow a three-year succession plan by the $15 billion merchandising and marketing group for independent dealers. “This transition once again demonstrates Nationwide’s knack for seamless succession,” said Bilas, a former GE sales VP who joined the group in 2011. “Our entire leadership team looks forward to the exciting challenges and opportunities ahead.” Knock, an ex-Electrolux sales director who also joined Nationwide in 2011, added that the group is “even more prepared to guide the continuous evolution of our … strategies, enabling us to meet the evolving needs of our members and vendor partners. We see the timing of this transition as a great fit with overall industry shifts, presenting our group with tremendous growth opportunities.” Weisner and Kirk will continue as executive directors of the group, which they helped grow to some 3,800 independent dealer members with over 11,000 storefronts. Weisner follows his brother-in-law and Nationwide co-founder Ed Kelly, who retired in 2011. The two met when Weisner went to work for Kelly’s father’s business, Ed Kelly Appliance & TV, which they later acquired. The company — along with hhgregg, P.C. Richard & Son, and Lee Guttman’s Wonder Sales — was a founding dealer of Nationwide forerunner Nationwide TV & Appliance Associates, created in 1971. Kelly and Weisner separately founded the Southeastern Businessman’s Assn. (SEBA), which later merged with Nationwide to form the present-day Nationwide Marketing Group (NMG). The brothers-in-law took the helm in 2003 following the death of president and co-founder Guttman. Kirk formally joined the team about 15 years ago after his consultancy, RFS, began providing financial services to Nationwide members in the late 1990s. Visit for the latest reports from the Nationwide show. Robert Weisner Jeff Knock Les Kirk tem – including the absence of bugs and launch glitches that marred previous OS rollouts – were echoed by a New Age panel, moderated by TWICE senior editor Alan Wolf, which featured top execs from Microsoft, Intel and the leading PC makers.

The program was capped with an inspirational address by entrepreneur Bill Rancic, who got his big break on the first season of NBC’s “The Apprentice.”

Attendees also shopped a vendor pavilion trade show and took time out for some R&R at a Frank Sinatra tribute concert at the nearby Hollywood Bowl, featuring the Count Basie Orchestra and guest crooner Seth MacFarlane of “Family Guy” fame.

New Age also used the occasion to make some noise of its own. A flurry of announcements from the Synnex subsidiary included news of new linecard additions from KEF, Anker, Dremel and HP. The latter included Sprout, an immersive computer and fully-integrated desktop 3D-scanning solution, while KEF contributed its M-series headphones and X-series digital audio systems; Anker added battery cases and portable, wall, desktop and car chargers; and Dremel brought out its 3D Idea Builder.

Separately, New Age also announced a redesigned website with streamlined navigation and more detailed information for its customers.

“Our team is committed to providing cuttingedge tools and resources to enhance the customer experience for our vendor and retailer partners,” Towns said. “The redesigned website serves as a one-stop source to give new and existing customers access to the information needed to successfully grow their business and thrive in the rapidly changing CE industry.”