Panasonic New Zealand set to leave Narta buying group

By Claire Reilly

Panasonic’s New Zealand subsidiary has announced it is set to leave the Narta buying group, effective 1 April 2013, in order to increase its focus on the “individual needs” of its retail partners.

However, despite the change, Panasonic Australia’s managing director, Steve Rust, has reasserted the Australian subsidiary’s commitment to Narta in the local market, saying the changes in the New Zealand business will not affect retailers in Australia.

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According to a press release from Panasonic New Zealand, the company is parting ways with Narta in order to “invest extra effort into direct sales relationships” with Narta retail members in the country.

“Panasonic has enjoyed a constructive relationship with NARTA NZ for many years,” said Panasonic New Zealand managing director, Stuart Fowler, in the release. “However the trading environment continues to be challenging and we believe this decision allows us to be closer to our customers, focusing on the individual needs of their businesses.

“We have strong relationships with all Narta NZ members and we look forward to strengthening these relationships even more in the future with personalised direct attention.”

Alongside Australian retail partners, Narta counts a number of large and small retailers in New Zealand among its membership, including JB Hi-Fi NZ, 100% and The Appliance Shed.

Speaking to Current.com.au, Panasonic Australia MD Steve Rust said the change would not affect Australian retailers, and the Australian subsidiary’s relationship with Narta was “absolutely” still going strong.

“Narta is a very important partnership for us,” said Rust. “Panasonic’s business in Australia is managed completely separately from the business in New Zealand. The decisions they make in New Zealand are made by New Zealanders for the New Zealand market, and they don’t relate to our business here in Australia.”

Current.com.au has contacted Narta for comment on Panasonic New Zealand's decision.

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