Supply chains continue to be a key concern for the retail industry and JB Hi-Fi Group CEO, Terry Smart has weighed in on the conversation, flagging further challenges ahead particularly for home appliance categories.

“We’ve definitely had some stock challenges over the last two years, especially in the big and bulky categories, such as refrigeration and laundry, so we’ve disproportionately suffered with stock,” he told investors during the group’s 1H FY22 results presentation.

“In home appliances, there is concern of stock coming into the country and suppliers have signaled that March and April could be more challenging, but the benefit of our model is that we buy from multiple suppliers so if the team plans far enough out, they can substitute product in,” he said.

However, Smart did admit the difficulty of substitution for certain brands with higher loyalty such as Apple or Dyson, but across most categories, the retailer can switch sell.

“We are cautious of home appliance sales during that period (March and April), but we feel we can get the appropriate price points and models in for our consumers. It may not be exactly what they want from a brand perspective, but we feel we will get enough stock in,” he said.

In consumer electronics, the feedback on stock supply has been more positive.

“We won’t be able to get everything we want, and the teams would love to get more, but there is a more positive feeling on stock availability going forward. Suppliers have struggled to get their arms around the stock situation as well based on what they think might be coming and then suddenly, it’s diverted and doesn’t arrive. However, more broadly, there is more confidence in consumer electronics categories.”