. – The Boston Group, one of five
chapters of the NECO Alliance buying confederation,
was planning for a big weekend Aug. 14-15 after
Massachusetts authorized a last-minute sales-tax
The tax-free-holiday weekend was 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 offer a tax freeze.
“This week business is nothing,” the group’s marketing
director and buyer Jim Cunningham told TWICE days
before the moratorium. “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 a rebound in demand for room-air, 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 heralding the tax break,
although many members have also produced their own.
“We’re going to promote the heck out of it,” Cunningham
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.