LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLA. -NATM president Jerry Throgmartin, executive director Bill Trawick and operations director Ernie Olson outlined some changes in NATM practices and procedures during a press briefing here last week. Here are several points they covered:
- While NATM lost five members last year, four by its own choosing (Handy TV, Queen City TV & Appliances, Vann's and Video Only) and one that closed (Roberds), the group has no plans to expand during 2001. "We are satisfied with our lineup, and to be honest, there are few other stores that would fit our criteria," Trawick said.
- While NATM membership won't expand this year, its individual members will open more stores, Trawick said. H.H. Gregg will be opening a store in Dayton, Ohio in April and another store in Indianapolis later in the year. Nebraska Furniture Mart is opening a store in Kansas City, Kan.; Abt Electronics is set to open an expanded headquarters/superstore near its current Morton Grove, Ill., location; BrandsMart and Bernie's plan to open one store each; Conn's is planning several openings; and R.C. Willey is going to enter the expanding Las Vegas market. Said Trawick, "This is a good sign, showing that these members are healthy and see more opportunities."
- The NATM website, which rolled out last fall, is now fully operational and labeled a success by Olson. "We have added various forecasting features. Whirlpool is linked to the site for forecasts, and Thomson is about to launch a forecasting option too." The company expects Toshiba and Sony to provide the same forecasting service later in the year.
- The NATM annual fall meeting with suppliers will no longer be held. "With other efficiencies and plenty of other committee meetings with suppliers and individual meetings during the year, you really don't need to have a fall supplier meeting anymore," Throgmartin said. NATM members will have an internal meeting at H.H. Gregg this fall to review "best practices" for its member stores and the entire group.