HES Plans 1,000 Store Visits in 2007
The Home Entertainment Source (HES) buying group enjoyed a 30 percent total increase in member sales volume for 2006, reported Executive Director Jim Ristow at a member breakfast during last month’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES).
Ristow promised that the organization’s 2007 agenda will include a dramatic increase in outreach to retailers via zone manager store visits.
“HES has over 700 members doing about $1.3 billion in business,” said Ristow. “We’re adding a fifth zone manager to help with these visits. In 2005, we visited 15 to 20 stores; since June 2006, there have been 130 store visits, and our 2007 goal is 1,000 store visits.”
The step-up in store visits, he said, is part of the evolution of HES from a buying group to encompassing the role of an advisor to its membership. “Members are calling to ask what products to put on the floor, when the models are going to change over,” he explained. “It’s become, ‘Help me. My vendors are busy.’”
Of the recent holiday sales season, Ristow asked, “Has anyone ever seen a fourth quarter like that, ever? Vendors and retailers both were very aggressive. There was price volatility and high sales volume. But it was a great quarter in a lot of ways, although volatile.”
Ristow reported a 68 percent increase in sales for HES’ Expert Custom Warehouse and a 54 percent uptick in Expert Warehouse video sales. He credited HES/Brand Source parent AVB (Associated Volume Buyers) with helping to bring synergistic benefits to the group, particularly through its deals with flooring and rent-to-own groups. “These partnerships,” he said, “will help bring customers and get us more buying leverage. There is now $11 billion in buying power from this whole consortium.”
Said HES President Bob Cole, who runs World Wide Stereo in Hatfield, Pa., “The only thing we want everyone in this room to be is successful. And it’s snowballing. Things are getting bigger. The deals are getting sweeter. The meat and potatoes of what HES delivers includes marketing, store design, help in creating your web sites, financing, floor planning, extended warranties. My business personally has had a spectacular year, but HES has had a grand year.”
Cole touted the upcoming HES Summit, to be held March 25 to 28 in Dallas. “That’s ‘our’ CES,” he said. “It’s going to be a working meeting, involving networking, training [and] seminars.” CR