JB Hi-Fi punts on whitegoods and appliances, rebrands failed Clive Anthony’s stores

JB Hi-Fi is moving into the whitegoods, cooking and small appliances market, with the announcement yesterday of the launch of JB Hi-Fi HOME stores.

JB Hi-Fi will rebrand the last of its beleaguered Clive Anthony’s home appliances stores in an effort to distance itself from collapsed whitegoods chain Clive Peeters.

Chief executive Terry Smart said the four Queensland stores trading under the Clive Anthony’s banner will be rebadged as JB Hi-Fi HOME as part of a six-month trial of the concept.

Two more stores will follow in the new year and if the trial is successful the retailer will rollout JB Hi-Fi HOME to selected stores at homemaker centres around Australia.

Richard Murray, chief financial officer at JB Hi-Fi, told SmartCompany, the move is a “fairly measured trial” as the retailer wants to see what the opportunities are to leverage the JB Hi-Fi brand.

“That market is a $4 billion market, so for a company like JB Hi-Fi that plays in the broader space it would be remiss of us not to explore that opportunity,” he says.

“We are excited about the support of industry players, and comfortable they can distinguish between a JB Hi-Fi store and a JB Hi-Fi HOME store.”

Murray says JB-Hi Fi will succeed in the low-margin market where others have failed due to its name and experience in retailing low-margin goods.

“We have traffic and credibility in the broader consumer market,” he says.

“I’m not sure I agree [that the sector is low margin]; whitegoods is a better margin than computers. We are used to working in a very competitive market place.”

Murray refused to reveal the investment JB Hi-Fi is making in the trial but says it is “not material” as it represents a “very measured investment” only requiring relatively minor changes like signage and merchandising.

“Price is non-negotiable in retail nowadays, lowest prices every day is expected. For too long people have said customers will pay for service but they want great prices and service, they want it all,” he says.

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