By James Wells
SYDNEY: After being a member of Retravision for over 40 years, Sydney-based Whitford’s of Five Dock has brought forward its move to the Narta group from 1 November to today after its former buying group – Retravision NSW – went into receivership yesterday.
Store owner Andrew Whitford told Current.com.au that he has planned the move for some time and yesterday’s announcement, which he referred to as a ‘hiccup’, resulted in an acceleration of the transfer to Narta.
Whitford said the move to Narta follows a period of change in his business.
“The Narta business model fits our business more than the Retravision model. We are looking forward to it and we are ready for the Narta family.
“Retravision is a very comfortable group to be in as they do almost everything for you. But over the last 12 to 18 months we have been working towards a change and have been dealing with Kay Spencer and Narta over the last six months.
Whitford said a recent catalogue put out by Retravision supported the case for a change of buying group.
“Retravision recently put out a catalogue with no Miele, no Smeg, no Bosch, no Blanco and no Liebherr – the brands that we love selling. Retravision was chasing The Good Guys a little bit and it was not where we wanted to be. Our business has changed from 42 years ago to more of an upmarket, prestige store.”
One of the greatest hurdles preventing the business joining the Narta group was the company’s allegiance to the Retravision group – particularly for Andrew’s father John Whitford who opened the store in the early 1960s shortly after Andrew was born and later became chairman of Retravision New South Wales for 17 years.
John Whitford’s grandparents started the family’s trading tradition in Five Dock in 1922 with a corner grocery store on Rowley Street and John Whitford’s father operated a real estate business in Five Dock in the 1950s.
The business will now trade as Whitford’s of Five Dock Home Appliances rather than Whitford’s Retravision and it will also incorporate the Essential Electrics factory seconds outlet on the upper level of the building on Great North Road.
“This will provide us with a good chance to update the external look of the store and we look forward to trading with new suppliers. We have three Retravision signs and two of them are about to fall down, so it is a good opportunity to spruce things up,” Whitford said.
According to Narta managing director, Kay Spencer, the Whitford’s store matches Narta’s culture.
“It is a business that has had longevity and is a family business that has been built through succession. In the inner west area of Sydney is the top-of-mind retailer for appliances that delivers their customer over-and-above service,” Spencer said.
A statement issued this afternoon by Andrew Whitford, further explained the decision to move from Retravision to Narta.
"Over the past 10 to 15 years Andrew and Peter Whitford, together with our general manager David Emanuel, our specialised sales team and our valued suppliers have built a business ready for the future," the statement said.
"We see this future with the Narta Group, specialising in prestige kitchen and laundry products, refrigeration and the home entertainment market. We have always specialised in the top quality national brands which have been the backbone of our business.
"A whole new world is opening for the Whitford family, my management and team of loyal staff are all dedicated to re-grouping and moving forward to the new challenge.
"It has been very important to our family to have been accepted by the Narta members, directors and management.
"The respect and integrity which has been built up over the last 50 years by John, Jan, Andrew, Belinda and Peter with the suppliers of the electrical industry is greatly appreciated by us all.
"Narta is the one to take our business to the next level. We look forward to dealing direct with our valued suppliers who have supported Whitfords over the years."