JB Hi-Fi to sell mobile phones after Telstra deal

By James Wells

MELBOURNE: JB Hi-Fi this afternoon announced that it will start selling mobile phones after confirming an exclusive partnership with Telstra as its service and content provider.

“Convergence between telecommunications, computers, portable audio and the camera market is now here” said JB Hi-Fi CEO, Richard Uechtritz.

“Today’s ‘mobile phone’ is no longer just a phone, it is a everyday mobile multi function consumer electronic device, and thus part of our home entertainment offering,” he said.

“The time is right for JB to ensure that it stays relevant in its current offering of portable audio, cameras and computers as these products continue to merge with mobile phones” he said.

“We are pleased to be partnering with the market leader Telstra as we finally complete our home entertainment offering, given time there is no reason why JB can’t be a substantial player in this mobile electronic market,” he said.

The company expects to launch into this market with most of its Victorian stores in July and then to roll out in NSW before Christmas.

Last week the company said it expects profit for the year ending June 30, 2007 to be in the range of $37-$39 million or up to 51 per cent higher than the previous year net profit after tax (NPAT) of $25.8 million.

Sales are expected to be in excess of $1.2 billion for the year ending June 30, 2007, an increase of 30 per cent on the previous year.Comparable store sales increased to 10.2 per cent for the 11 months to May 31, 2007.

After better than expected trading since February, JB Hi-Fi said it expects profit for the financial year to grow by between 43 per cent and 51 per cent on the previous year to between $37 million and $39 million. When results for the half year were released in February, NPAT expectations for the full year 2007 were $32.7 million.

The company said newer games and computer categories continue to show promising growth and “should be solid performers for JB Hi-Fi in years to come.

"Our unique retail model is performing strongly and should continue to benefit from strong comparable store growth, many new store opportunities, a low cost of doing business, better buying power and good management," Uechtritz said.

The company expects to finalise the rollout of the computer category to most stores by early 2008.

The first of at least four JB Hi-Fi stores opened in New Zealand in April and is reported to be trading well. Three more stores are expected to open before Christmas.

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