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Ingram Micro expands Consumer Electronics Division

Distributor adds AVAD to its CE Division to help partners with more cross-sell opportunities

Seven months ago, Ingram Micro (NYSE: IM) announced its new Consumer Electronics (CE) Division. Now the distributor wants to increase its business in North America with the addition of AVAD to its CE Division.

Ingram Micro announced this week that it would integrate AVAD into a larger division (CE Division), which also includes DBL Distributing, a consumer electronics accessories distributor that Ingram Micro purchased in 2007. AVAD is a home entertainment and automation-focused distributor that was acquired by Ingram Micro five years ago.

Last year, Ingram incorporated DBL into Ingram Micro but kept it as a separate legal entity. Brent McCarty, vice-president and general manager of DBL, said the company shares the same systems and warehouses as Ingram Micro and AVAD will continue to be kept separate and on its own systems.

While the AVAD name and operating structure will remain the same, the unit is now under the distributor’s umbrella CE Division, alongside of DBL, McCarty said.

At the head of this division is John Soumbasakis, the senior vice-president of strategic divisions for Ingram Micro North America. Reporting to Soumbasakis are McCarty and Jim Annes, general manager for AVAD.

“We launched the CE Division in January at CES,” Soumbasakis said. “At this time, we took DBL’s capabilities and formalized it into an Ingram Micro division to offer to resellers and retailers. We wanted to incorporate AVAD as well. DBL focused more on driving growth with accessories and video and AVAD was really focused on home theatre and home controls for the custom install market.”

With the addition of both AVAD and DBL to its CE Division, McCarty said the distributor can now help facilitate more “synergistic and cross-selling” opportunities for its partners.

“There’s the potential for lots of cross-sell synergies,” McCarty said. “For example, Ingram Micro does a lot of digital signage and AVAD has commercial audio products, so we’re offering those elements of digital signage and a pro A/V (audio/visual) solution.”

With a rise in mobile devices and the accessibility of the Web, many consumers are now looking to e-commerce Web sites to purchase products, McCarty said.

The goal within the CE Division is to help partners stay relevant to their customers and make sure they’re profitable, Soumbasakis explained.

“There’s a shift in how customers are buying products, so there’s pressure being put on small and medium-sized retailers,” he said. “We’re trying to incorporate a wide assortment of solutions into the CE Division so partners an sell more complete solutions.”

McCarty said that while AVAD and DBL had their own distinct customer bases, their solutions and products are now blurring. By incorporating both brands into the CE Division, he said partners can benefit from a wider assortment of products and enablement resources to further succeed in the market. Together, AVAD and DBL service more than 40,000 customers worldwide.

One of the main goals for the company is to increase the activity and growth of its North American CE business, Soumbasakis said. The distributor is currently looking for a new national sales lead for AVAD to be responsible for U.S. sales for AVAD overall, including the field and inside sales teams, reporting to Annes. In addition, Ingram is looking to expand its systems design team, which has been in place for about two months. Ingram will add resources to this phone-based team in accordance to the demand it sees from its dealers. It will also consolidate AVAD’s Florida, Indiana, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Utah branches and will keep the remaining 23 branches to serve customers throughout the U.S. and Canada.

“With this change, we become the distributor with the broadest consumer electronics and home automation portfolio in the U.S. and Canada,” Soumbasakis said. “We’re confident that our CE business is a long-term strategic differentiator and growth opportunity.”

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