The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) announced that the Professional Audio-Video Retailers Association (PARA) agreed to merge with CEA, with a final agreement expected by June 1. CEA plans to create a new PARA Division for its more than 250 dealer members representing specialty audio-video, custom installation, and home theater companies.
"CEA recognizes the importance of this core group of specialty retailers to the overall growth of the consumer technology industry," said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of CEA. "By completing this merger, CEA will bring CE manufacturers and retailers together to form a unified front and to speak with one voice for the benefit of the CE industry and all its sectors."
"PARA and CEA both play a major role in the continued success of the audio and video industries," said John Flanner, president of PARA. "This merger with CEA will allow us to expand and improve our service to the CE industry. This also will afford our members access to the invaluable resources CEA provides including participation in industry programs and training for our retail executives and salespersons. These will help maximize their return on investment. Overall this is a win-win for both parties and more importantly a win for the customers for consumer technology."
According to CEA, the mission of the new PARA division is to promote the value of the specialty audio-video retail channel of distribution to the CE industry as a whole and to grow the professionalism of specialty retailers within that channel. The new division within CEA will be the home for specialty audio-video retailers focused on continuing education, enhancing the marketplace, staying competitive, and improving financial performance.
In addition to forming the new division, CEA will continue PARA's existing programs, including its annual management conference. Once the merger is complete, the new members of the PARA division will have access to all the benefits and services available to current CEA members.
CEA said that by expanding the structure of its membership, it now provides interaction among the full spectrum of the industry including manufacturers, installers, distributors and retailers. PARA stands to benefit through increased exposure to a diverse base of industry segments.
"As the CE industry continues to grow and diversify, so must CEA," said Mr. Shapiro. "Indeed, the PARA Division will add a new perspective to the association and unite the largest group of retailers selling our core products with the manufacturers that produce them. By combining the strengths and expertise of these two audiences, CEA will continue to be home for all parties interested in growing the exciting world of consumer technology."
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