BSL outlines changes to its business structure

By James Wells in Fiji

FIJI: Betta Stores Limited CEO Guy Houghton has reassured members of the core value provided by the buying group and outlined several changes to the business.

“Buying, equally with advertising, is the most important service that we offer as a buying group. It is very difficult to always have it right, but adopting a strategy by category, we can achieve market share,” Houghton said.

Although 50 per cent of the buying team has changed over the last 12 months, the group now draws on the experience of BSL head buyer and former Harvey Norman whitegoods buyer – Gerald Squire, as well as former Narta and Wow Sight & Sound browngoods buyer – Simon Bright.

“If we achieve rightful market share in categories such as side by side refrigeration, front load washing machines and mp3, we can improve our turnover by $104 million just from offering what our customer is asking from us. In that $104 million, the increase for information technology is just 2.4 per cent to 3 per cent,” Houghton said.

If the group was to experience a more significant increase in sales from the information technology category, group sales could grow by another $100 million, according to Houghton.

“Ask yourself – am I doing what is being proposed? This is a good opportunity to get extra turnover into your business and not a pipe dream,” he said.

Houghton also flagged a change to the core bonus scheme from 1 July.
“[The core bonus scheme] has little value to retailers or suppliers. It will cease as it is, and will be used for tactical marketing. That’s why it was brought in the first place,” he said.

Houghton admitted that the brand’s advertising has become too predictable and not as aggressive. As of July, the BSL buying and advertising department will commence operating under new trading terms, which Houghton promises will make the group more flexible.

“We won’t be predictable. We won’t have 12 catalogues, we will have less catalogues, to be more aggressive,” he said.

Houghton announced he will be moving away from Central Accounting, simplifying the business’ financial systems and attempting to make the company easier to do business with. He said he expects to go to the board for approval to invest in a new system to implement which will add value to the business.

“We are not walking away from Central Accounting. For those suppliers that want to add value, they can continue with Central Accounting," Houghton said.


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