New Harvey Norman franchisee says Bracey’s store needed upgrading

By Sarah Falson

LITHGOW: After five generations and 121 years of operating, one of the last family-owned department stores, Bracey’s at Lithgow – which included a Retravision and a Mitre 10 store – has become a Harvey Norman store.

Current.com.au spoke to the new store proprietor of Harvey Norman Lithgow, Scott Geddes, who transferred from another nearby Harvey Norman store.

“It was a smooth transition to Harveys from Retravision. There no problems,” said Geddes of the store which began trading as Harvey Norman on 26 February.

According to Geddes, the public has taken the change “extremely well”, and most of the Bracey’s staff will remain.

Geddes is excited about the addition of LG and “some other little brands” that the store did not stock under the Retravision banner.

“It will be very good for the town. New technology with a bigger range of computers, increased stock level and increased quality will start to filter through soon. We’re running down the old stock now,” said Geddes.

The ex-managing director of the Retravision department store, David Bracey, told Current.com.au last month that after five generations it was time to leave.

“It is time to move on,” he said.

“To be honest, the turnover has been hard with falling prices, and the Chinese market has made fairly big inroads. It is not profitable to remain in business.

“It is time to get out and let someone younger have a crack at it.”

The Bracey business was founded in 1886 when Major H.E.S. Bracey bought an existing general merchant business which then developed into a clothing and grocery retailer.

The business has since been managed by David Bracey’s father, John Bracey, and his father Eric.

David Bracey told Current that Harvey Norman had presented the business with a “good offer”.

Last year Bracey’s modified its business by consolidating three existing buildings into one centralised 1,500 square metre location.

At the time, Bracey told Current.com.au that neither local competition nor the succession of interest rate rises had had an affect on the business, and explained the reason for the restructure was economic conditions.

"The decision to restructure has come due to the general downturn in business, which has become a lot more acute recently, and the economy in general,” Bracey said last year.

“It has come as a bit of a shock to the town,” said Bracey at the time.

Bracey said that his business would go from strength to strength following the restructure in the lead up to last Christmas and that there was still plenty of room for success.

“We’re not out for the count,” Bracey said at the time.

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