ProSource Pushes For Profitability At Annual CES Soiree

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ProSource, the specialty A/V arm of the BrandSource buying group, held its annual International CES bash at Bally’s on the eve of the show.

The dealer organization, comprised of the Progressive Retailers Organization (PRO Group) and Home Entertainment Source (HES), used the occasion to announce PRO’s new partnership with eBay (see TWICE, Jan. 10), and renewed its call for margin relief.

“2012 is all about increased profitability,” PRO Group executive director/ COO Dave Workman told the crowd. “We have to make more money, and there are going to be some changes.”

David Pidgeon, newly elected president of HES and CEO of Dallas-based dealer and custom installer Starpower, concurred. “The times have taken margins down and the independent dealer needs ways to make money in other areas,” he told TWICE, and added that independents will benefit from big-box chains’ current woes.

eBay senior director/chief electronics merchant Noah Herschman said the pact with PRO will help give members online parity and will provide e-tail services including store design, payment options, inventory management and even mobile shopping apps.

“We’re both committed to specialty retail,” he said. “It’s about the enthusiast customer.”

“We’re a brick-and-click operation,” added Workman. “We’re committed to multichannel and are at the front end of the whole evolution.”

Joining Pidgeon on the HES board is first-time director Jeff Schneider of Pyramid Audio Video, who succeeds Marty Hayse of Dennis Sage Home Entertainment. Pidgeon pledged to “work tirelessly to improve the performance of our group, forge tighter bonds with our vendor partners and raise the trajectory of our business channel so together we can help our membership increase bottom- line profits.”

Also on hand at the ProSource shindig were Earth, Wind & Fire band members Verdine White, Philip Bailey and Ralph Johnson, to support their Gratitude headphone line by Monster.

Separately, BrandSource reported its best Black Friday promotion ever as a result of new incentives and options offered through its Expert Warehouse II distribution program. The fulfillment initiative, managed by Ingram Micro, offers more than 8,000 SKUs in multiple categories and improved logistics, warehousing, shipping and billing efficiencies. Its wider assortment of brands, solutions and categories, including laptops, tablets, headphones, iPod docks and IT-networking components, were developed to help members drive store traffic, boost sales and augment planned purchases with rentto- own options.

In other BrandSource news, former digital marketing manager Bob Donaldson has been promoted to digital communications VP. In this new role, Donaldson will oversee member communications, social media and email marketing campaigns, Internet sales, the Brand- Source app, an extensive redesign of the group’s backroom communications area, and other new digital technologies, the buying group said.


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