Some Specialists up by Double Digits

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By Amy Gilroy Some 12-volt specialists expect stronger sales this year, as the economy rebounds.
Last year, you’d be hard pressed to find more than a handful of retailers claiming sales were flat to up. This year, out of a poll of seven retailers, three said sales are up and one said sales will be up for the full year. We also posted an inquiry on the 12vinsider bulletin board asking if any retailers are seeing sales increases this year. Only a few retailers responded but here too, as of this writing, about half are seeing gains.
As an industry observer, the mood appears better this year, although the market remains challenged and in transition.
Freeman’s Stereo Video (7-stores based in Charlotte, NC) and Sound of Tri-State (3 stores in Delaware) reported double digit growth. Al & Ed’s Autosound (about 20 stores, based in Los Angeles) said sales are up and Custom Sounds (about 16 stores based in Austin, TX) said sales for the full year will be up over last year, and 2009 was a record sales year for the chain.
Sound of Tri-State is up 12 percent in dollars year-to-date despite a cold winter resulting in more store closings for snow or poor conditions.
Freeman’s said year-to-date growth is in the upper teens through March and April is on the same pace. “We have actually had positive months since October of last year,” said general manager JR Stocks.
Custom Sounds is even through April but expects to be up by 4 to 5 percent in the second half.
From the 12vinsider, here are two responses:
SoundCrafters said sales are up this quarter over last year. Traffic is also up.
Alarms, ETC. said sales were up for the first quarter but are down in April, as it appears tax refunds came in early this year, although this is only speculation on the part of operations director Joe Cassity. “February was actually the highest sales numbers we’ve recorded for a February since we started in business,” he said. Also he’s seeing less traffic but a higher closing percentage and business is shifting to lower end product.
The Consumer Electronics Assn. expects sales this year to rebound slightly from 2009 to $8.3 billion (in U.S. sales to retailers) up from an estimated $7.8 billion. However sales will remain off by 35 percent from 2008 levels of $12.8 billion (which CEA considers the peak year for 12 volt).
Source: CEoutlook
Photo: Freeman’s Stereo Video

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