Incoming JB Hi-Fi group CEO, Terry Smart has confirmed that stock shortages remain an issue in some key categories, particularly impacting the JB Hi-Fi business.

“We are still seeing stock shortages in categories like computing from Apple, HP and Microsoft, which tend to be more premium products. We are also seeing shortages from Apple and Samsung in telco and from some brands in small appliances,” he said.

“We are fortunate to have multiple suppliers so some of those sales can be moved across but in the premium segment, it is more challenging.”

Smart said the group feels more comfortable with current stock levels, although they are not exactly where the team would like them to be.

“Given stock levels across the market, we are seeing a return of discounting and we expect that to slightly impact our margin going forward.

“There is conversation around price rises but we haven’t seen anything of significance flow through yet. It appears there is some reluctance from suppliers to pass them on, but we anticipate that at some point it will happen, but we don’t have anything definitive at this stage.”

The home appliance division in The Good Guys remains strong among higher margin products and during FY21, there was less discounting because stock was tight, so promotional activity slowed, and consumers weren’t shopping around as much, according to Smart.

“We expect discounting will return – it is returning – there’s no doubt about it, so it will be hard to maintain margin. We expect there to be some challenges as we revert to ‘normal’ trade, but we are confident that our margin will be at a higher level than we would’ve anticipated a few years ago.

“It is not necessarily discounting on the floor but it’s promoting products at a lower price to drive traffic. Although there are some challenges, on the flip side, consumers will continue to focus on their homes so we should see the home appliance business continue to grow so we are not too concerned at this stage.

“Investment in property is helping maintain volume and ASP in premium home appliances at The Good Guys, but there’s so many moving parts. Our teams are motivated and focused, and we strive to achieve our sales numbers whether it is through volume or ASP.”