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New Age Salutes Army-Air Force Exchange At CES

President Fred Towns is pointedly optimistic about the New Year ahead as connected-tech takes root.

New Age Electronics, a leading national distributor of CE and gaming products, has named the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) as its Retailer of the Year.

The annual award was bestowed at the distributor’s 10th annual customer appreciation event, held at the Paris Hotel’s Chateau Nightclub during last week’s CES.

As with past honorees, the military exchange service – recently rebranded The Exchange – was selected for its year-over-year revenue growth, close executive alignment, strategic partnership, sourcing of multiple brands, and consistent positive credit standing.

The Exchange was additionally recognized for expanding its offerings with New Age and developing new and innovative ways to market and sell its products to consumers in stores and online.

The military exchange, which placed 17th on TWICE’s Top 100 CE Retailers ranking with $777 million in tech sales in 2016, also recently made its website available to all honorably discharged military personnel, providing veterans with a lifelong online shopping benefit.

“I am pleased to recognize AAFES as our 2017 Retailer of the Year and congratulate them for their recent accomplishments in consumer technology,” said New Age president Fred Towns. “AAFES continues to work closely with our team to offer the best products and solutions to improve the lives of soldiers, airmen and their families through a successful omni-channel retail model.”

Following the award announcement, vendor and retailer guests watched Alabama edge out Georgia in the College Football Playoff Championship Game.

New Age also used the occasion to announce that its Retail Dealer Summit will return to Hollywood on July 16-18. The annual conference caters exclusively to the distributor’s retail and vendor partners to help them prepare for the back-half of the year and the all-important holiday selling season.

See: What We Learned At New Age Electronics’ Retail Summit

In a sit-down with TWICE, Towns was pointedly optimistic about the New Year ahead as connected-tech takes root. Key drivers will include mesh home networks, which provide more robust Wi-Fi coverage; voice control, and a proliferation of hands-free and shop-by-voice devices; broader acceptance of mobile payment services, which will further foment commerce; and the coming of age of Gen Z, which has “unbelievable buying power, needs immediate availability,” and shows a penchant for unisex product design, he said.

“The industry is at a really exciting time,” Towns beamed.

In other New Age news, the distributor’s corporate parent, Synnex, a global business process services company, announced that president/CEO Kevin Murai will retire from his post of 10 years on March 1, when he will become board chairman. He will be succeeded as president/CEO by current COO Dennis Polk.

“My time at Synnex has been an incredible journey, working with remarkable people and achieving great things together,” Murai said.