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NATM Members Broaden Businesses


NATM dealers gathered
here last week for the group’s annual
conference said they are defying the
weak economy by reining in costs, entering
new businesses and opening
additional stores.

At least four of the buying group’s
regional chains are expanding their
turf this year and next. Among them:


, which plans to open as
many as seven new stores in 2012,
including some in new adjacent markets;

Electronics Express

, which
opened a former Circuit
City in July and built out
an existing location to
20,000 square feet;


, which is
re-opening a department
store in Central New Jersey;

Video Only

, which is
also opening in a former
Circuit City site.

Video Only president
Peter Edwards told
TWICE he is seeking a
12-volt specialist to sublease
space in the new store, whose
square footage exceeds the typical
footprint of the now 15-store chain.
Edwards decried falling margins
within his core TV category, which
force him to move more units and attachments
to remain profitable, and
pointed to Apple as proof of success
in CE without price cuts.

For brothers Abe and Sam Yazdian
of Electronic Express, promoting is
a necessary evil to stay competitive
amid national accounts and recent
newcomer hhgregg. “It’s a tough environment
but we have a few vendors
who are working with us closely,” Sam
said. The 19-store Tennessee chain
is winning through tighter inventory
management, entering new categories
like computers and appliances,
offering a better assortment of fully
featured products and, when necessary,
matching online prices.

“Margins may not be as good as
they used to be, but 90 percent of
consumers are still employed and they
are buying,” added Abe.

New categories are also keeping
business humming at TWICE retail
award winner Abt Electronics (see p.
18), which recently added electric generators,
sump pumps, HVAC systems
and fitness equipment to its offerings.
“We’re always looking for ways to drive
traffic and create new business,” copresident
Billy Abt told TWICE.

The new entries, along with hot-selling
smartphones, tablets and d-SLR
cameras, are compensating for weakness
in GPS and declining TV prices.
“We’re dying for the next new display
technology,” said merchandising chief
Phil Hannon. “It’s the first time in a
long time that there’s nothing to bring
up price points.”