By Patrick Avenell
Leading Edge’s new Leading Appliances team has been meeting with former Retravision members and suppliers throughout January and February as the buying group prepares to integrate almost 80 stores before the 1 April 2013 deadline.
A diversified buying group with interests in computers, jewellery and books, among other categories, the Leading Edge Group emerged unexpectedly to house the Retravision members unwanted by Narta following the sale of the Retravision brand in late 2012.
In addition to the 73 homeless Retravision outlets, Leading Appliances is also being courted by five unaligned retailers seeking to be launch members, according to national product manager Nick Fry.
“We have now been in contact with all stores that meet the criteria for forming part of the Leading Appliances Group,” Fry said. “At this point 73 stores have indicated their intent to join the new Leading Appliances Group.
“We have also had contact from five additional stores that were not part of the original store list but are active in the industry and are interested in joining.
“Once the initial group is settled and member and supplier agreements signed, we will be open to recruiting new and additional members to add to the strength and turnover of our group.”
Fry said the first batch of draft membership agreements will be sent to prospective members this week for “acceptance and execution”.
Unlike the old Retravision business model, Leading Appliances will not operate central billing and all members must have individual accounts with suppliers. Leading Appliances will, however, liaise with suppliers to determine a “Core Product Range”, organise cataloguing and provide in-store support. Interestingly, Fry said Leading Appliances is maintaining a dialogue with Narta.
“Although Leading Edge Group is not a member of Narta, we have been, and will continue to, work closely with Narta in this transition process to ensure as smooth a transition as possible for our member stores,” he said.
As reported earlier this week, the Leading Edge Group has acquired Retravision’s point-of-sale system and website. This had been a major sticking point for some former Retravision members, with one telling Current.com.au that the cost of installing a new system would make his business financially unviable.
“One of the great advantages of joining the Leading Edge Group is our acquisition of the Retravision RMS point-of-sale system and the existing Retravision website,” Fry said.