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PRO Group, HES To Team On Strategies, Special Buys

New York — The Progressive Retailers Organization (PRO) Group and Home Entertainment Source (HES) buying groups have entered into a strategic alliance, both groups report.

The alliance between PRO and HES, the specialty A/V division of Brand Source, will allow both entities the ability to collaborate with their mutual vendor partners on special buy opportunities and specific channel strategies, both groups said.

PRO and HES represent more than $4 billion of upscale CE retail volume, the groups said, and will provide suppliers with a clear distribution channel in which they can continue to sell step-up products. 
In a statement, Dave Workman, executive director/COO of PRO Group, commented, “This alliance represents a unique opportunity to collaborate with HES on key buys for the benefit of both groups, while completely maintaining separate programs, business services and independent entity status which are each, in their own way, designed to serve the respective size and will of their retail membership.”

He added, “The consumer electronics industry is changing and buying groups need to provide new business solutions to their members that can help them compete against the rapid commoditization and new competition in this business.”

Jim Ristow, executive VP of HES, said in the same statement, “The CE industry is entering a state of contraction, consolidation and commoditization which, left unchecked, will drive a level of downward pressure into the market. Over time this will greatly constrain dollar growth for both retailers and manufacturers. This alliance represents the most viable growth opportunity for the manufacturer in upscale, value added merchandise and allows them to develop a cohesive national strategy giving everyone — vendors, dealers, industry — the best chance to survive and prosper.”

PRO Group has 17 regional members that it said represents $2 billion in CE retail sales. Its membership lineup includes: Abt Electronics, Anderson’s, Bjorn’s Audio/Video, Car Toys, Crutchfield, Electronics Expo, Flanner’s Home Entertainment, Huppin’s/OneCall, Ken Crane’s, ListenUp, Modia, MyerEmco, Ovation Audio/Video, Sixth Avenue Electronics, Stereo Advantage, Tweeter Newco and Vann’s.

Home Entertainment Source, the A/V specialty division of Brand Source, has 500 members and annual sales of $1.8 billion.