Home Theater Specialists of America (HTSA) welcomed its dealers and vendors to CEDIA Expo with a day of meetings and an evening reception held 37 floors above the Denver skyline, with the sun setting spectacularly over the Rockies in the distant horizon.
The scenery provided a dramatic backdrop to HTSA's executive director Richard Glikes' short address to the vendors and retailers in attendance. Glikes assured the crowded room that despite the fact that among dealers "there is a malaise, an undercurrent of 'Business is not so great,'" the landscape is not as bad as perceived.
"I spoke to about 70 [retailers] today and asked them how business is. A third said it was down … 15 percent said flat, and about half said business is up."
Glikes cited the upcoming presidential election and the chilling effect that uncertainty can play on consumer spending. "Once that little bit of doubt is cast away, business will be great," he predicted.
He added, "If there's one thing I know, it's that Americans love to spend money … We have football season coming up."
Afterward, Glikes told TWICE that, as a whole, the buying group's "sales are flat, but average tickets are up," and sales among the group's target customer, the high-end, high-ticket home owner, "is strong and getting stronger."
HTSA has 63 dealer members, approximately 20 of which are custom-install-only operations. — Additional reporting by Steve Smith