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Distributors: New Categories Will Drive Growth

NEW YORK — Even though harsh winter weather put a drag on retail sales in the first quarter, and the first half in general, distributors expect several up-and-coming categories will drive demand and profits during the second half.

Distributors contacted for TWICE’s Mid-Year Update said that smartphones and tablets, as well as accessories for those products, will continue to create opportunities.

But these executives said that other much-ballyhooed categories are just about to come into their own.

Ultra HD TV should have a big second half with suppliers about to hit key price points for specific screen sizes. Wearables are just about ready to go prime time, with the health and fitness products leading the way and smart watches not too far behind.

And home automation, which has been around for years, is ready for its close-up due to improved technology, wireless offerings and consumer awareness, as well as lower prices.

A few other categories are mentioned, plus some commentary on retailers adding branded departments to their stories. The following is a “virtual roundtable” based on questions submitted by TWICE in mid-May.