By James Wells

SYDNEY: Hitachi will cease sales of consumer electronics in Australia on 29 February after a difficult year in the market characterised by the flat panel category that delivered record sales driven by heavily discounted products prior to Christmas.

In a letter distributed to retailers, Hitachi Australia managing director, Yutaka Sugihara has decided to close the business following a decision to refocus its sales strategy.

"As you [are] no doubt now aware, Hitachi has decided to withdraw from the Australian consumer electronics market. This decision is part of a refocusing of Hitachi’s sales strategy for consumer electronic products throughout the world.

"As a result, Hitachi Australia Pty Ltd (HAUL) will cease sale of consumer electronics products in Australia by 29 February 2008. HAUL’s rebate and trading term agreements with you company and all of corporate group/trading group members will terminate with effect from this date," Sugihara said in the letter.

According to Hitachi, a press conference outlining the reasons for the decision will be held tomorrow afternoon in Sydney.

Staff were informed of the decision on Friday afternoon.

More information regarding the closure of the subsidiary will be available later today.