Whomever said that national chains and e-tailers would sweep away the independent dealer channel hasn’t perused TWICE’s Top 100 rankings recently.
The listing is actually peppered with dozens of independents, most of which are affiliated with buying groups — those national confederations of dealers that pool their resources to obtain competitive vendor programs and marketing, financing and other critical retail services.
Among them, ProSource, the $4.5 billion group for A/V dealers and integrators, alone holds Top 10 sway with the recent addition of computer specialty chain Micro Center. The group is further represented within the Top 40 by B&H Photo and Crutchfield.
Also laying claim to the rankings is the NATM Buying Corp., comprised of some of the nation’s leading regional big-box stores. You may know some of them: P.C. Richard & Son; Nebraska Furniture Mart; BrandsMart USA; and Abt Electronics, among other Top 100 denizens.
But what if all the top buying groups — a list that also includes the mighty Nationwide Marketing Group; ProSource affiliate BrandSource; and the furniture-focused Mega Group USA organization — were combined into one retail entity? How would they stack up?
Based on some admittedly loose back-of-the-napkin calculations (35 percent of approximately $41 billion in combined sales, to mirror the electronics mix), the five leading groups accounted for roughly $14.4 billion in CE sell-through last year.
That would place them at the No. 4 spot on the Top 100, behind Walmart and just ahead of Apple.