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AVB/BrandSource creates furniture division

The AVB/BrandSource buying group has created a new division within its furniture dealer ranks called BrandSource Furniture Advantage, consisting of more than 50 retailers who have committed to a group buy during the upcoming Las Vegas Market.

The main purpose of the move is to merchandise the retailers' circular advertising program for the next six to 12 months, AVB/BrandSource said.

The group, part of an 1,800-member buying organization, chose six product categories — bedroom, fabric upholstery, leather, motion, casual dining and entertainment — for the first Advantage buy, said Michael Allen, BrandSource executive vice president-home furnishings.

"During the market, we will review product from numerous suppliers and select one for each category," he said. "Every member has committed to keep these floor placements for the next 12 months in order to support the tabloid program."

Under the program, two to four SKU's will be selected from each supplier with a significant opening order, say a dining room order of 300-plus sets, for example, Allen said. One of the criteria for suppliers is they must have domestic availability. Also, they have to be able to sell to Advantage members from across the country and all members have to buy, which is a change for AVB/BrandSource.

"With all groups, the analogy I use is it's a cafeteria line, where the member can pick one (source) but not another, and the manufacturer has the same rights," Allen said.

"Under the Advantage program, the manufacturer has to sell every dealer and every dealer will place product from every manufacturer. The tagline I like to use is, 'Nobody is half pregnant,'" he added.

"We have put a lot of research into the needs of our members and the consensus is they want a well-designed, product-specific circular program that is not dedicated to a single supplier," said Dan Crain, owner of Garden City, Kan.-based Appliance & Furniture Mart and an Advantage member.

With more than 50 dealers buying the same product, Crain said the program puts the subgroup's buying power on par with a Top 100 furniture store.

More than 25 furniture manufacturers are set to make product presentations to the Advantage dealers in Las Vegas.

"Our goal is to look for the best overall values, but not base the sole decision on price," Allen said.

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