The Kambo decision: the big fish swims east to a new pond

Analysis

The news today that Peter “Kambo” Kambouris had left Retravision WA to join the Sydney-based Narta buying group may have been a surprise to his former group’s CEO, but it wasn’t to others in the industry.

Rumours of this move first started circulating in April, with the story going that Kambo was unsatisfied with the provincial attitude of Retravision WA towards growth and the new economy.

In November last year, Kambo launched his ‘clicks and mortar’ site to operate concurrently with his two stores, complete with free delivery for sales over $1,000. Kambo described it as a “winner”. Always an innovator, Kambo acknowledged that to stay relevant he needed to adapt. Retravision new joint website, though an improvement from 12 months ago, still does not offer an online sales option.

Another example of his thinking outside the square was his installation of a large format Samsung experience centre inside his Malaga store. This was an Australian first in August 2010, with Kambo again placing customer needs at the forefront of his thinking.

“We hope this unique venue will become a great resource for customers who are eager to discover the latest advances in digital technology,” he said.

Born into a Retravision family, Kambo’s father owned the old Mitchells Retravision in Perth. In 1990, at the age of 24, Peter took control of the store, rebranding it Kambo’s Retravision. The word ‘Retravision’ would itself be dropped from the store name, with Kambo’s Malaga and Kambo’s Canning Vale firmly entrenching Kambo’s own identity onto these outlets.

At the time of its launch in 2006, this Malaga store was a forward thinking behemoth. Complete with an in-store bridal registry, a manchester range and giftware.

It may sound quaint now, but Kambo was ahead of his time when discussing the new home theatre installation.

“Gone will be the traditional home theatre display room with its assortment of different products. This will be replaced by two dedicated home concert rooms that enable the customer to view and listen to a single integrated system exactly as they would have installed in their home,” he said.

As a member of Narta, Kambo can continue to innovate with the backing of a $3 billion-plus buying group, whilst rubbing shoulders with some of industry’s brightest minds, such as John Winning (Winning Appliances) and the Lee family (Bing Lee).

Kambo thrived as the big fish in a small pond: his quest to become a big fish in big pond is one to watch.

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