By Paul Hayes

MELBOURNE, VIC: Given the relative instability of the current market, new JB Hi-Fi chief Terry Smart plans to play the company’s sales data very close to his chest.

Speaking to, Smart said that the potential for internal data to be exploited by competitors is the main reason JB Hi-Fi recently withdrew from supplying information to the market research institute, GfK.

“Our feelings were that we were providing too much information to the wider market on our best sellers.

“We were really providing hit lists for competitors to very much enter the market and target those key products that may be selling.”

Smart said that he, and indeed his predecessor Richard Uechtritz, are more comfortable creating and handling their own sales data rather than risking giving competitors an inadvertent leg up.

“We feel that with the sensitivity of the data we are better off holding it close to ourselves.

“We are better off as a retailer maintaining our own data and not making that publicly available.”

As for the present state of the market, Smart acknowledges that interest rates and the lack of stimulus spending have worked to make times tough, but believes the industry always has potential help around the corner.

“There is no doubt that it has gotten tougher. Every retailer is experiencing that.

“But we work in an industry that has that constant innovation running through and the Apple iPad is a great example where it can really create demand in our space.

“We don’t know what that is today, but you can bet there are going to be more Apple iPad-type releases in the future.”