By James Wells

Betta Stores Retail (BSR) CEO Graeme Cunningham claims that half of all Retravision stores have contacted his office to enquire about joining the group.

“Half of the Retravision members have approached us, but this doesn’t mean we are accepting them,” Cunningham told this morning.

“We are asking the tough questions upfront and we are being very stringent with our selection criteria. We will not be burdening our group with anyone that is not financially viable,” he said.

In the week leading up to the company’s annual conference, Cunningham said the timing of the additional member enquiries “is not ideal”.

“This is not the way we would have wanted this to happen, and we are trying to help them as much as we can,” he said.

“A lot of them are the usual mum and dad stores and they don’t know where they are or what to do.”

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Cunningham maintains there are very clear differences between the two retail organisations.

“Whilst the culture of Retravision and Betta members is similar, the operational side is very different. BSR do not central account for their members. Our members must establish their own accounts with our supplier partners and therefore are independent from other members and are not burdened by the poor performance of other members nor the management or mismanagement of a central account.

“We encourage the financial independence of each member. Our role is to grow support for the brand and provide direction and support to the stores. We have a healthy business model which we will not jeopardise by trying to become a financier. We are a franchisor and we are not in the finance business,” he said.

“With us the money flows very differently – we don’t central account so the stores and the suppliers are responsible for managing their accounts. We are there to help with the rest of it – marketing and promotion, IT systems, branding, buying, ranging and strategic direction.”

Cunningham has announced that the business will be issuing BSR retailers a 10 cent per share dividend, which represents the sixth consecutive year of dividends paid to shareholders.