With shortages expected this summer, retailers appear split down the middle on those who are ordering more heavily in anticipation and those who are buying as if it’s ‘business as usual.’
We saw two letters in the past week from reps of Alpine and Pioneer stating that product supplies would be lower than expected over the next few months. Other suppliers are also warning of possible shortages due to the earthquake in Japan as some key parts for car electronics are sourced there.
Alpine assistant VP sales Mike Anderson said earlier this month that the company is suggesting retailers carry a few more pieces than they normally would so they don’t get caught short.
Freeman’s Stereo Video, Charlotte, NC and Car Fi of Springfield, MO said they are ordering more heavily on key models. Sound Sensations, Marietta GA bought more heavily on popular Pioneer models.
Then again Al & Ed’s Autosound, Los Angeles is not taking the bait. Neither is Dick’s Stereo, Portland, OR or Columbus Car Audio & Accessories, Columbus, OH.
But the threat of shortages is growing more likely. ICE’s Rob Elliott said, “We have been warned by vendors and we made adjustments within the group accordingly.” ICE, which represents almost 200 car audio retailer storefronts said it has been told to expect shortages in Q2, heading into Q3. “There’s no panic yet,” said Rob Elliott, executive director.
Freeman’s said, “At the end of last month we starting to buy a little heavier and then we’re buying a little heavier in April. If [shortages] do affect our sector, we’ll be prepared by trying to gradually build our inventory over the next 90 days. The ideal would be an extra 20 percent a month in key models,” said J.R. Stocks, general manager.
Here’s the picture from a vendor’s perspective. Audiovox said it is learning of a 2 to 4 week delay on some parts but it has not yet been able to confirm availability of other parts. “The scary ones are the ones that are not yet identified with a time frame. So we don’t really understand the impact yet,” said Audiovox Electronics president Tom Malone. But at this point he believes there will be an impact.