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Illustration_60886103 / Kheng To To / Dreamstime
Iillustration_60886103 / Kheng Ho To / Dreamstime
Illustration 60886103 / Kheng Ho To / Dreamstime

Top 200 Distributors Singing Different Tunes on the Economy and Green Market

May 28, 2009
While it’s always been tough to define the “average electrical distributor,” respondents to Electrical Wholesaling’s 2009 Top 200 ranking were really tough to categorize.

While it’s always been tough to define the “average electrical distributor,” respondents to Electrical Wholesaling’s 2009 Top 200 ranking were really tough to categorize. For instance, while the average change in sales between 2007 and 2008 for the 107 companies that provided sales data for the past two years was 4.9 percent, 14 of those respondents enjoyed U.S. sales increases of more than 15 percent, and four companies — Argo International, New York; Wholesale Electric Supply Co. of Houston Inc., Houston; A.E. Petsche Co. Inc., Arlington, Texas; and Shepherd Electric Co. Inc., Baltimore — saw their sales jump by more than 30 percent in 2008. At the other end of the sales spectrum were the six companies that saw sales decline by 15 percent or more.

There were also huge differences of opinion on the green market. While 102 Top 200 distributors are either already stocking LED lamps or plan to do so within the next year, when asked if the green revolution had rolled into their town yet only half of the total respondents had seen growing demand for energy-efficient electrical products. Also, while many companies had not seen end users in their markets working on photovoltaic projects or wind farms, a few distributors were already selling photovoltaic panels to their customers.

By the numbers.Estimated 2008 sales for the Top 200 distributors as a group slipped slightly from $54 billion in 2007 to $53.5 billion, and companies on this year’s listing now control 59 percent of industry sales, down from the 60.7 percent posted in last year’s Top 200 ranking. The ranked distributors had at least 78,881 employees and operated at least 5,587 locations. Sales-per-employee for the 120 full-line electrical distributors that provided both 2008 sales and employee counts was $644,684.

— Jim Lucy, EW