Despite softness in most Consumer Electronic categories, the Photographic Research Organization (PRO) cooperative distribution network set another sales record. Sales reached an all time high for calendar 2009, up 21.5 percent.
Referring to the group’s PROMASTER® brand, Jeff Neal, PRO’s Vice President Sales and Marketing said, “We kept the quality high and both consumers and retailers responded with their wallets. Our PROMASTER® memory cards are very reliable with few card rescues needed by customers. Our retailers understood this value and were able to explain it to customers along with our memory card lifetime guarantee. Despite overall price erosion in the category our retailers maintained volume and margin at retail.”
PRO expanded product offerings during the year including a more expansive studio lighting offering. PRO President Mike Worswick remarked, “The more than doubling of studio lighting sales was a result of our ability to match the right quality product with the shift in consumer needs. The growth of the pro‐sumer wanting better images fit right in with our new product offerings and PRO saw studio lighting sales skyrocket.”
PRO’s numbers of members remained stable as retiring members were replaced by generally larger new members. Recent new members include Norman Camera (Michigan), Robert’s Distributors (Indiana) and Schiller’s Camera & Video (Missouri).
More rapid inventory turnover has been a cornerstone of PRO’s orientation to enhanced member financial success. David Harrar, PRO’s VP of Distribution reports the average PRO member ordered from the Hatboro, PA warehouse 89 times last year, up from 81 times the prior year. “The PRO warehouse team filled 96.6% of orders within one business day last year. This allowed members to keep their inventories lean, their cash in the bank and rely on PRO to be their back room warehouse.”