Current’s Top 10 Stories of the Year, Part One

Today is the last day of Current.com.au for 2008, and although the team will be back breaking all the big stories in 2009, we thought it only appropriate to look back on the 10 biggest stories of 2008.

10. JB Hi-Fi slams the ARA, awards’ credibility seriously questioned (by Patrick Avenell)

After declining its invitation to the ARA Retailer of the Year awards night, JB Hi-Fi chief executive officer Richard Uechtritz launched a stinging rebuke of the ARA, and its underhanded tactics in promoting its awards night. Although JB Hi-Fi appeared in publicity material as a nominee for Retailer of the Year, the company had refused to participate in the complicated nominating procedure, meaning that Bunnings’ win on the night was tinged with a case of the Steve Bradburys.

9. Hitachi Australia to close down (by James Wells)

“Hitachi will cease sales of consumer electronics in Australia on 29 February after a difficult year in the market characterised by the flat panel category that delivered record sales driven by heavily discounted products prior to Christmas,” wrote Wells at the time of the withdrawal. Hitachi ended up having quite a few friends to talk to on the barge out of Circular Quay, with Philips, Fujitsu and Toshiba all withdrawing from AV categories during the year.

8. Sharp Blu-ray player takes focus off price and back onto features (by Martin Vedris)

Proving that the Big 4 don’t yet totally dominate the home entertainment category, this article on the release of a Sharp BD player captured the imagination of our readers. Its sub-$500 price point, and features that Vedris compared to Mini-Me from Austin Powers, hopefully prompted consumers to invest in this product, perhaps staving Sharp off the same fate as its compatriots Hitachi.

7. Clive Peeters’ owners suffer through Black Monday (by Patrick Avenell)

It was the darkest of days for managing director Greg Smith and friends, as shares in Clive Peeters plummeted 18 per cent to 11.5 cents. The week in total saw Clive Peeters’ value drop 38 per cent, prompting rumours that the retail group was close to collapse. Analysis of the share price showed that since the company peaked in early 2007 – with a share price over $3.40 – the decline in value had resulted in Kap Investments, one of the substantial holders, losing $23,000 a day.

6. Braun launches world first shaver and re-brands current models (by Martin Vedris)

Proving that stubble still means trouble for a lot of our readers, Vedris’ report on the launch of Braun’s Series 7 range of men’s shavers was especially popular. Braun also used that media event to launch its Series concept for branding across its entire range. Braun group business manager George O’Neil was quoted saying this initiative was inspired by how German carmakers, particularly BMW, labeled its range of vehicles.

For the Top 5 Stories of the Year, click here.

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