JB Hi-Fi warns rivals: ‘we can still get better’

By Patrick Avenell

MELBOURNE, VIC & SYDNEY, NSW: JB Hi-Fi CEO Richard Uechtritz has delivered an ominous warning to his rivals in the consumer electronics retailing industry, declaring that the group still has plenty of improvement to come, despite last week’s record-smashing profit announcement.

Not long after reporting a $94 million profit for FY09, we asked Uechtritz if he felt any pressure to keep this phenomenal momentum going. He said that whilst there was pressure, he still believed numerous opportunities existed to keep the group moving forward.

“There’s always pressure: you want to keep on meeting market expectations, and not only meeting them but exceeding them, which we’ve done ever since we floated, so a certain pressure comes from that,” he said.

“What we have to do is keep on doing what a retailer needs to do, and no matter what we do, we can always do a better job.”

Whilst focusing on improving internal operations is central to Uechtritz’ forward planning, he did make a veiled reference to the struggles of his rival retailers in this harsh economic environment, saying that JB “only have to do better than [its] competitors to win”.

As for the improvements that will continue to push the JB Hi-Fi group further up the charts, Uechtritz channelled Freud, saying that so much of this improvement would be centred on the group understanding itself and the processes that have thus far produced this success.

“There’s improvement opportunities all the time and I think we can do a lot of things better than we’ve done in the past; it’s understanding them and knowing we can do better that gives us the type of results that we have over the years.”

 “We’ve got a good business, we’ve got 106 stores, we can go to 210 stores, so we’re very focused on the JB Hi-Fi model and there’s no reason to deviate and do anything differently than we’ve done in the past nine years.”

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