SMS was formally incorporated in 1997, but was initially formed in 1994 as the Specialty Retail division within The News Group (TNG). The specialty retail division was born out of a supply and service arrangement with The Home Depot (THD). THD agreed to test magazines in 2 of their Atlanta area stores, and pleased with the results, approved a rollout of 65 stores in the Mid-South region of the US. The home improvement product mix at these stores was enriched with magazines displayed on mainline fixtures and in pockets at the checkouts. Products were shipped via small package carrier as opposed to company owned truck delivery (standard in the traditional magazine wholesale business), and were met by service representatives who merchandised the product and processed returns. THD planned to have the store personnel merchandise the magazines, but quickly realized merchandising support would be required.This was the beginning of creating a nationwide merchandising organization.
Books were eventually moved to SMS from a publisher direct basis and sales gains were experienced due to the coordinated merchandising and category management plan. SMS designed fixtures for THD's books and magazines to create an idea & information center. In addition to this mainline area, SMS developed a cross-merchandising program to display publications in specific departments, conveniently located near related products.
During the years following incorporation, SMS was awarded additional THD divisions, propelling SMS to the national level. Revolutionary formatting and a national infrastructure became the foundation for a strong business and inevitable growth as SMS continued to build its base of specialty retailers in several classes of trade, from Office Supply and Consumer Electronics to Hobby & Crafts, Sporting, and Toys. In the spirit of continuous improvement, SMS supplies the most innovative and unbiased programs to specialty retailers throughout the nation.
SMS acquired Time Media Direct in 2008, positioning SMS to become the top national merchandising service supplier. SMS services all retail partner stores nationwide using solely SMS merchandising representatives supervised by four levels of field management. The acquisition allowed SMS to increase the level of service and accountability it offered retail and publisher partners.
In response to favorable results in THD candy and DVD kiosk merchandising services, SMS expanded its merchandising services to include one-stop front-end management capabilities, just one more way we save our retail partners time and money. In any one visit, SMS merchandisers efficiently perform multiple product merchandising tasks, increasing retail sales by keeping locations in stock and inviting to consumers. To further increase the density, versatility and capacity of our merchandising staff and services, The News Group (a sister company) began a staged merger of its national merchandising branch with that of SMS in May 2009.
Select Merchandising Services is now one of the top merchandising companies in the United States. SMS has expanded its offerings and is now providing merchandising services through numerous on-going programs and one-time projects. With our genesis as one of the more complicated retail categories, we are well positioned to provide other products, categories, manufacturers, and retailers with in-store merchandising excellence. We have a top notch team of seasoned field and support management committed to delivering results. We are already writing the next chapter in our history of success.