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BrandSource to be Mega's primary banner as Countrywide, Multi-Meubles disappear PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael J. Knell   

TORONTO (23 January 2012) - Two of this country's best known furniture banners will disappear this coming March when Mega Group rolls out BrandSource as its primary go-to-market strategy for independent furniture, mattress and appliance retailers across Canada. The member-owned buying group announced the conversion just prior to the Canadian Home Furnishings Market which ended its annual four-day run here last week.

According to group president and chief executive officer Benoit Simard, this means the Countrywide and Multi Meubles banners will disappear by the end of the first quarter. The members voted to make the change at their meetings just prior to the market.

"We will be transiting from Countrywide and Multi Meubles to BrandSource," Simard said in an interview. "Members of Countrywide and Multi Meubles will become BrandSource members."

Mega launched the BrandSource.ca web site in early 2009 primarily as a promotional tool focusing on appliances and mattresses. However, one of the stumbling blocks to a full roll-out has been the lack of a national core furniture program - which has now been resolved, Simard said.

BrandSource Canada is affiliated with BrandSource in the U.S., which is operated by the California-based A.V.B. buying group.

There will be two types of BrandSource Canada members going forward: integrated and authorized.

Simard said an integrated member will have his name included with the BrandSource Home Furnishings (Ameublements BrandSource in Quebec). These will be fully bannered stores and, in addition to access to all Mega member services, will have access to the complete core furniture line-up which will feature product from suppliers such as Lane, Broyhill, Ashley, Sealy, Serta and Springwall as well as Mega's own private label upholstery and case goods programs.

Mega will also be offering BrandSource members a comprehensive advertising program including a 12-month flyer program as well as a national radio advertising campaign with broadcast spots on channels such as HGTV and TSN.

These members will also have territorial exclusivity, which Simard said will give the integrated store a distinct competitive advantage in his market.

In all, BrandSource's product offering will include some 15,000 SKUs across 38 brands in furniture, mattresses and appliances.

In addition to integrated stores, BrandSource will also offer an "authorized" dealer program. Members in this stream will not territorial exclusivity and will have access to other Mega program on an à la carte basis. Simard expects the authorized BrandSource member will be an appliance specialist rather than an independent full-line furniture retailer.

Simard said the conversions from Countrywide and Multi Meuble are already underway and when BrandSource is fully operational at the end of the first quarter, the group expects to have 65 integrated members online along with approximately 90 authorized members.

Although BrandSource is a huge undertaking, Simard was quick to note that Mega Group will continue to offer other programs to the independent retailer. For example, Evolution and Promotional Networks - as well as Sleep Experience - are continuing to serve their individual members. "We will continue to be a network-driven, people-oriented company," Simard said.

The emergence of BrandSource will not impact Mega's strategic business unit which provides central billing and other financial services to other retailers such as the Dufresne Retail Solutions Group, Trail Appliances and Foto Source, a network of independently-owned photography stores.

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