Radio Rentals to exit South Australian retail business

Rental customers not impacted.

Radio Rentals has announced plans to exit its retail and online sales operations in South Australia and close its stores over the next two months. Rental customers are not affected. The consumer rental business, which finances rental contracts through various retailers, including Radio Rentals, is provided by inRent, which is owned by a separate entity and is not impacted.

Radio Rentals managing director, Nick Palmer said that the 100 South Australian employees affected by the announcement would receive in full all their entitlements, including superannuation and annual leave.

“After such a long time in business in South Australia, the decision to close our retail operations was very difficult and emotional. It was only taken after careful consideration and pursuit of all other strategic options including a sale,” he said.

“Given the changing and challenging face of retail business these options regrettably were not viable. In the end, we had no alternative. Any further delay would be irresponsible. Brands in two other states are also impacted.

“We decided to act before our hand was forced and close our stores in a timely and controlled fashion. This is a planned and managed exit and we will meet all commitments to every employee who leaves us. All suppliers will also be paid under the ordinary terms of trade.

“The company will support and counsel employees who are impacted and help them to find new jobs. To that end, an external employment agency is being engaged to assist. We recommend our employees to new employers.”

There will be no impact on existing inRent rental contracts. Rental customers will continue to receive the benefits of renting with inRent, including ongoing product servicing and upgrades, and customer obligations under rental contracts are ongoing.

The head office at Main North Road, Prospect, will remain open to service rentals and for sales of ex-rental inventory. The other 12 stores throughout South Australia will close around mid-June. Radio Rentals will clear all retail stock over this period.

Employees, unions, landlords, suppliers and other business partners all are being notified of the controlled retail store exit.

Palmer said that a series of factors led to the announcement including increasingly difficult trading conditions over recent years across Radio Rentals’ core business in the most competitive retail categories of electronics and household goods, given the range of new disruptive players who have entered both the retail and consumer rental markets in the past couple of years; maintaining sales volumes and margins has been increasingly challenging in recent years and supporting the retail cost structure has become unsustainable; as well as the inability to find an alternative to closure through, for example, a sale or restructure of the business.

“With all this in mind, we decided that the fairest and best outcome for employees, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders was to adopt a timely wind-down,” Palmer said.

Radio Rentals started in Rundle Street, Adelaide, in 1958. “Our success, as a South Australian family owned business was built around generations of wonderful employees, valued customers and business partners and a mission to make electrical and home appliances affordable and accessible to more and more homes and families.

“We look back with pride on our contribution … the jobs we created, the economic growth that we drove and the choice and services we provided to generations of South Australians.”

Details of closures and sales over the next two months will be announced. All gift cards will be honoured or refunded. Customers can stay in touch via the Radio Rentals website, www.radiorentals.com.au, call on 1 800 199 285 or come into any store for further information.

The South Australian Radio Rentals brand is not associated in any way with Radio Rentals stores owned and operated by the Thorn Group in states other than South Australia. In South Australia, Thorn Group stores trade as Rentlo Reinvented.

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