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Nationwide, HTSA Form New Specialty Group

Updated! Nashville, Tenn. — The Nationwide Marketing Group and the Home Technology Specialists of America (HTSA) have formed a third buying organization that supplants Nationwide’s specialty A/V division.

The new joint entity, Home Technology Specialists of Nationwide (HTSN), succeeds Specialty Electronics Nationwide (SEN) and will share resources and members of both merchandising organizations.

Recently named SEN director Hank Alexander will lead HTSN in the same role.

The strategic alliance, announced today at HTSA’s Spring Conference here, allows both groups to “maximize and leverage their individual strengths, while working cooperatively to increase member benefits, bolster vendor relationships and amplify synergies in marketing, demand generation and other services,” the new partners said in a statement.

The pact also better positions the groups to drive the connected home business, they said.

Specifically, the alliance gives HTSA members — comprised of A/V specialty retailers and custom integrators — access to Nationwide’s sophisticated marketing, advertising, credit and digital signage services, as well as its major appliance merchandising programs.

In turn, the new group can leverage HTSA’s custom-install vendor base, and achieve closer parity with ProSource, the $4.6 billion specialty A/V and custom-installation division of the rival BrandSource buying group.

“It’s rare to find such a unique opportunity in which members from both organizations are able to leverage the strengths of the other in order to capture the most available share in this space,” said Tom Hickman, Nationwide’s senior electronics VP. “These complementing benefits showcase just how powerful this alliance will be for our retailers.”

Added HTSA managing director Bob Hana, “HTSA has always been a thought leader and trailblazer when it comes to taking progressive actions that enable our membership to grow and flourish. … We see immense opportunity here to offer a more complete, connected home solution spanning everything from home entertainment, security and control to comfort, convenience and connected appliances. Together with Nationwide Marketing Group, we are uniquely aligned to address the evolving needs of the CE industry and a new class of tech-hungry consumers.”

With $15 billion in collective annual sales, Nationwide is the country’s largest retailer group representing independent appliance, electronics and home furnishings dealers.

HTSA generated approximately $475 million in member sales last year, according to TWICE.