Houghton warns retailers under $2 million turnover

By James Wells in Fiji

FIJI: Betta Stores Limited (BSL) retailers displaying poor compliance to the group’s franchise agreement and with turnover of less than $2 million have been warned by BSL CEO Guy Houghton, that they are in danger of going out of business as they become less relevant to consumers.

In his opening address to the BSL Conference at the Shangri-La Fijian Resort, Houghton said the stores which have closed within the BSL buying group over the last 18 months lacked compliance with the group’s licensing agreement and had a small turnover.

“The failure rate of retailers in the last 18 months, with the exception of Hi Fi Supermarket and the Mornington Bulk Store [recently sold to the publicly-listed Narta member Clive Peeters], was almost 100 per cent non-compliant stores with sales under $2 million. Why? Because customers do not want to go there any more,” Houghton said.

Houghton suggested the sub $2 million retailers are falling away quite quickly and told delegates that compliance was a key issue for the group, with enforcement coming via a new upgraded license agreement to bring it in line with the changes to the business.

“Don’t be scared of compliance – it is good for your business. For the ones that are not, we will work with you,” he said.

Under the new compliance measures, BSL members will be required to access the company’s ibGlobal information technology system to receive their rebates. Houghton estimated that only five per cent of stores were not already using the system.

Houghton also announced that there will be a change in the group’s fee structure. One fee will be charged for use of the ibGlobal system and another promotional fee will be charged based on the size of a store’s territory and its preferred suppliers.

The changes will apply to half of all members immediately and the reminder will change once they sign new retailing agreements with the group.

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