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MEGA Group Places Record Orders At Show


MEGA Group USA, the 1,500-member
furniture, majaps, CE and mattress buying group,
placed a record number of sales orders at its just-concluded
convention here at the Grand Hyatt this month.

According to MEGA president and chief majap merchant
Rick Bellows, orders were up double-digits over
last year’s spring show, and were ahead 30 percent over the group’s last convention in San
Antonio in August 2009.

“The show exceeded our expectations,”
he told TWICE, and reflected the
generally upbeat mood of MEGA’s membership.
“The first couple of months of
the year were tough, but it’s no different
than it’s always been. There is business
out there — you just have to work a little
harder and smarter to get it.”

Orders also increased in advance
of next month’s planned price hikes by
major white-goods manufacturers. “The
timing was right to take advantage of
buys and opportunities out there,” Bellows

Even still, majap shipments to MEGA
were up more than 10 percent in January
and February, compared with a 5
percent decline industrywide, he said.

Attendance at the event was “right
where we budgeted,” Belows added,
with some 1,000 dealer attendees and
400 vendor personnel on hand, representing
400 retail companies and 85
exhibitors. The latter included LG, Mitsubishi,
Samsung, Sharp and Toshiba
on the CE side, and Electrolux, GE,
Samsung and Whirlpool in appliances.

A major initiative introduced at the
show was WebFronts Premium, an affordable
e-commerce program that
represents a step up from the buying
group’s basic offering, first introduced
in 2007. The new two-tier platform is
highly customized and features virtually
unlimited product catalog capabilities,
advanced merchandising, price tools,
unlimited shopping cart, advanced
search engine optimization techniques,
automated rebate center and productcomparison

Belows said WebFronts Premium will
give members a competitive advantage
by providing access to 10,000 SKUs
and uniquely accommodating each of
the group’s four main product categories
within a shopping cart.

“We had to have an e-commerce site
as good as any in the country, and spent
a lot of time developing a premier web
presence that will take a back seat to no
one,” he said. More than two-thirds of
MEGA’s dealers presently participate in
the group’s website programs.

Also announced at the show was the
appointment of 15-year majap industry
veteran Missy Hodges as appliance
merchandise manager, with additional
responsibility for the group’s circular

MEGA was created in 1982 as a
chapter in the now-defunct Key America
buying group, and went independent in 1997 with just 75 dealers. Today the Memphis-based organization
encompasses some 2,500 storefronts
and accounts for more than $2.5 billion
in sales, with about half in furniture, 30
percent in appliances, and 10 percent
each in CE and bedding.

Despite its size MEGA still operates
like a smaller group, with constant communication
between dealers and headquarters
staff. “We’re always listening
and responding to our members needs,”
Bellows said. With every program and
every service we ask ourselves, ‘How
does the dealer win? Will it drive traffic
or add margin?’ If not, we move on to
something else.”

MEGA and its members will next convene
for the group’s fall show Aug. 25-
28 in Nashville. While San Antonio is “a
terrific destination with great facilities,
Nashville is the heart and soul of the
group,” Bellows said.