RVT says McKnights worth millions, but who made the bid?

By James Wells

MELBOURNE: Retravision Vic-Tas (RVT) CEO Brian Kelly, has told Current.com.au that five McKnights-branded Retravision stores will be sold either together or individually in a sale worth “millions of dollars”, but no one knows who he has prevented buying the business.

The decision by Kelly to purchase the stores was to thwart a hostile purchaser, but spokespersons representing Harvey Norman, Joyce Mayne, Betta Stores Retail and the Narta buying group including publicly listed retailers JB Hi-Fi and Clive Peeters and even the most active acquirer of the $2.5 billion group, Abdul Sacur, have indicated it was not them.

Kelly told Current.com.au that he cannot estimate a price on the five McKnights stores at Ringwood, Mentone, Taylors Lakes, Epping and Moorabbin just yet and said he will be able to put a price on the business after he develops a strategy to take his asset forward.

“We are a buying group and we are undertaking commercial negotiations like anyone else would. Retravision Vic-Tas has been set up as a buying group – it is not set up as a direct retailer and it is not our aim to be a direct retailer. This is the first time in my knowledge that we have become a retailer,” he said.

“The Vic-Tas business is a vibrant, strong business that is doing well. We will take whatever measure there is to protect it from competitors. You could call this a warehousing action and we will warehouse the business until we find a suitable purchaser or purchasers and sell them as individual stores or as a group.”

Kelly said that the Retravision Vic-Tas business has been working with Deloitte over the last 12 months in a strategic role that has not been a conflict of interest with the voluntary administration division that has been working with Retravision NSW and more recently Saeco Australia.

“We have been working with Deloitte across a number of issues for the last 12 months which has involved management consulting to the business. They have been an ideal third party that has come with an existing understanding of the business. We have been working with the Growth Solutions division which works specifically with small independent businesses including retailers.”

Kelly told Current.com.au that his business has been trading over the recent months according to GfK statistics.

“I think anyone that tells you retail isn’t tough is lying to you. But I am pleased to say that Retravision grew its market share in all categories. It has been a good result with Retravision Vic Tas growing its share in the 12 months to January 07 as well as the month of January compared to the year prior and we are up in all categories.

It is good news for us, some of the things we are driving are having some impact. There has been a good response, anecdotally from stores that the advertising campaign is working. We have put formal measuring practices in place, measuring each quarter – March 31.

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