By Claire Reilly
JB Hi-Fi is set to begin selling appliances by the end of this year, with the launch of new JB Hi-Fi “Home” concept stores that will be rolled out in Queensland. Although only in a trial phase, four large-format Clive Anthonys stores in Queensland are set to be converted to the new format, selling whitegoods, cooking appliances and small appliances. Another two stores will be converted in the New Year.
The CEO of JB Hi-Fi, Terry Smart, said the creation of JB Hi-Fi Home concept stores was a bid to capitalise on the strength of the home appliance market.
“We have a strong and successful JB Hi-Fi store model with a significant amount of growth ahead of us as we continue our store rollout program. We believe however that the strength of the JB Hi-Fi brand can be further leveraged to enable us to capture some of the circa $4 billion home appliances market.
“Today we have existing supplier relationships, buyers, merchandising capability and most importantly passionate and skilled appliance sales staff, all gained through eight years of operating the Clive Anthonys stores.”
It is these Clive Anthonys stores that JB will use to “test” the Home concept with consumers, in order to ensure that the new format “does not impact the strong customer engagement that exists with the traditional JB Hi-Fi stores”. According to the company, the Clive Anthonys stores are already geared towards appliance retailing and therefore “it will require minimal capital expenditure to achieve this trial”.
Clive Anthonys currently has stores in Bald Hills, Helensvale, Mermaid Waters and Mt Gravatt in Queensland, and there are two further stores in Frankston, Victoria, and Castle Hill, New South Wales. At this stage, with the trail occuring in just one state, only the four Queensland Clive Anthonys stores will be converted.
The company has also announced that further JB Hi-Fi Home stores will be rolled out into “selected stores at its existing homemaker centre locations around Australia,” pending the success of the Queensland trial. To complement these bricks and mortar stores, JB Hi-Fi will also launch a “new dedicated e-commerce site allowing customers to both research and buy online”.
Should the full rebranding of selected stores go ahead, JB Hi-Fi may be forced to reduce the number and range of SKUs that it currently stocks in its traditional core categories such as TVs, computers and music, in order to make way for large format products such as whitegoods. Current.com.au has contacted JB Hi-Fi to confirm which, if any, categories it will reduce in order to make way for appliances.
However, in his statement today Smart insisted that JB Hi-Fi Home would still serve JB’s core customer base.
“We will ensure that the Home stores will continue to carry a full range of JB Hi-Fi’s existing categories but with the addition of home appliances,” he said. “Focus will be placed on ensuring the shopping experience within the Home stores remains engaging and supports the powerful entertainment offer we have today.
“The JB Hi-Fi brand is known for its customer engagement, value, range and services; this will now extend into these new categories,” he added. “We will always be very protective of the JB Hi-Fi brand and what it means to our customers.”