Retail consortium criticises Leading Edge bid

By James Wells

BRISBANE: Documents sent to BSL members by the retail consortium looking to purchase the retail group’s franchise business have criticised the Leading Edge presentation conducted on Monday via a national internal teleconference.

Documents obtained by Current.com.au and circulated throughout the group on Tuesday of this week strenuously encourage members to support the retail consortium bid for the BSL franchise business.

“After yesterday’s presentation from Leading Edge, it has become very clear that as a retail group, we only have ONE decision to make to remain as a group and that is to REJECT the Leading Edge offer,” the document said.

“Keith Lane has made it quite clear that he is only interested in purchasing the business if there is a minimum group turnover of $240 million. This will not happen!

“Several of our large group retailers, who have the choice where they can live, have already made the decision that they will not stay with the group under the management of Leading Edge, taking with them a turnover of over $100 million. Where does that leave the rest of us? Without a brand and without an IT system. Some of you may be able to join Bi-Rite, Retravision etc but a lot will have nowhere to go.

“It was made quite clear that Leading Edge has no established supplier relationships with our key group suppliers and no real understanding of the politics of how these supplier relationships work in our industry.

“Leading Edge don’t appear to have any growth strategy (Superstores etc) but seem quite happy to just park us under their umbrella and collect the fees.

“It was also clear that they felt our IT system (the envy of most of the industry is expensive to maintain, an exaggeration of $1 million which means they may try to dismantle the system in favour of their own systems.

“These members of the group want to have control over their own destiny, which they can under a member owned co-op but could not under a small minded dictator.”

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