To the Editor:
After reading your recent article titled “Top Major Appliance Dealers See 10% Sales Gain In 2004” [TWICE, June 20, p. 1], I had to ask myself, does the independent retailer really count?
While your article was very informative, as your articles usually are, and it is certainly inspiring and uplifting to hear how well the major appliance industry is performing, I was disappointed that the independent regional major appliance retailer received little or no mention outside of a couple of pie charts. To paraphrase the immortal words of Rodney Dangerfield, “We don't get no respect!”
Recognizing that even though the top five retailers of major appliances maintain a very large share of the overall business, and, as such, command due diligence for that share, we should not and most certainly cannot diminish the importance of the independent retailer to the overall success of the major appliance industry.
In fact, if we look more closely at the numbers, we find that if you combine the top 10 regional independent retailers, they would rank No. 4 overall with $1.864 billion in sales. And these same 10 retailers have only 242 stores, whereas the top five mentioned have over 8,500 stores, or 35 times that of the independents.
Do we count? Look even closer and you see the industry's top five generating $2 million per storefront, while these 10 regional independents are producing a staggering and impressive $7.7 million per storefront. We do count!
I would like to reiterate, these numbers and my ramblings are not intended to diminish the success and fortitude of the industry leaders. In fact, my admiration of and for them is unquestioned. I wish only to identify the very important and substantial role the independent retailers play in our industry and give proper recognition for such.
Or to put it in another way, in the words of Albert Einstein, “Many of the things you can count don't count. Many of the things you can't count really count.”
William Trawick, President/Executive Director, NATM Buying Corp.