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M. Rothman Show Draws New Lines & New Dealers

September 22, 2011 By Nancy Klosek
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Distributor M. Rothman & Co., which held its annual product exposition Sept. 20 and 21 at its Ramsey, N.J. headquarters, showed off an expanded base of lines to a wider range of dealers and integrators than ever.
Russell Rothman, executive vice president, estimated total attendance over the two days at between 600 and 700 dealers. This year, the event’s theme revolved around the NBC game show, “Minute to Win It,” and offered participants prize-winning opportunities and a grand prize trip to Atlantic City.
“We’re seeing lots of new customers at this show,” said Douglas Rothman, executive vice president. “There’s a mix of every kind of dealer – A/V, housewares, mobile electronics – and everyone is looking at crossing over into new category areas they may never before have considered.” 

That was partly the rationale for the company adding housewares, small appliances and personal care products two years ago – categories they have greatly expanded both in types of items and in breadth of distribution channels since then, according to John Conway, who manages them for M. Rothman. “They’re a good, healthy, basic business for dealers to be in,” he said.

At the same time, some of the company’s traditional core categories have been bolstered. For example, displayed among the flat-panel TVs was the new Sharp-marketed Elite LED LCD TV line in both 60- and 70-inch sizes and in the 70-inch 3D version. Also available to dealers was Pioneer’s Elite A/V receiver line.   The mobile side of the CE business was well represented, too – a reflection of its showing as a steadily profitable category, said Steve Bodnarchuk, associate vice president, national accounts. “We’re anniversarying our 2010 numbers and are plus three percent in mobile projected for the year. All our categories, mobile, housewares, home A/V – bring each other along and keep our momentum going forward,” he said.

In terms of overall business performance for the year, he projected that the company’s sales results would be up over 2010, even though “there are many issues  – the economy, less disposable income, pockets of product unavailability, and an air of uncertainty that has the manufacturing and distributing communities concerned about the fourth quarter.” However, he noted that a trend impacting the distribution business climate as a whole – the market attrition of some key distributors in the last few months – had influenced M. Rothman’s business positively.

Bodnarchuk said the company recently stretched its portfolio to include security systems. “We’ve branched out because we want to give installers more in their tool kits in terms of both selection and greater margin opportunities.” The company is also looking to add SKUs in the ultra-netbook category, and meanwhile is offering tablet devices from Itomic, Coby and Toshiba. “There area 60 million tablets projected to be sold in 2012, so we expect that category to be explosive for us,” he said. “It all ties into a convergence story, and it just gives dealers more opportunities to reach new customers.”

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