Rick Hart returns to WA appliance retailing

By James Wells

PERTH, WA: West Australian retail icon Rick Hart will re-enter the appliance retailing industry this month with a new concept called Kitchen Headquarters, which he believes represents a concept which is unprecedented in the Australian market.

“It’s a pretty exciting concept. We believe there is an enormous gap in the market. All of the big players are looking for someone that specialises at the high end with a showroom that sets the standard,” Hart told Current.com.au.

“We are a few weeks away from opening. It is pretty bare bones at the moment. There is cabinet work going on off site, signage going up and displays going in. But everything is coming together, and we’re excited about getting it open towards the end of May.

“We have a stable of 10 suppliers at the moment. It has been difficult recruiting some suppliers who have a mistaken belief, in my opinion, that the Osborne Park area is over-retailed. We are of the opinion that Osborne Park is the strongest retail precinct in Australia and we feel that you can’t start a retail business in Western Australia without being in Osborne Park.

Suppliers on board at this stage include Smeg, Ilve, Asko, Fisher & Paykel, St George, Scholtes, De’Longhi, Sub-Zero as well as a new company called V-Zug from Switzerland. Others are expected in the coming weeks, but at this stage the notable absentees are Miele and Bosch.

“We are missing some brands including Miele and Bosch, but we will march on regardless. If they, in their business wisdom, decide not to be on board that is their decision, but we feel as though it will not help their presence in the market. Even those that aren’t on board know the concept will work, while others will regret their decision not to come on board.

“There are a number of suppliers that have seen through the maze of opposition from retailers who scream very loudly when new businesses come into their neighbourhoods. For those that have seen through all that and been supportive of the concept, we are very thankful of that and we will support them back in spades. This will be an iconic West Australian showroom that will become the focal point of building and renovating in Perth,” Hart said.

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