It’s been compared to a duck swimming in a pond: on the surface all appears calm as the duck glides smoothly, but underneath its webbed feet are paddling furiously to get the job done. The topic is Leading Appliances’ first year in operation, a period which has seen Retravision orphans and various independents bind together in a new group to first survive, then thrive.

When Leading Appliances opened for business on 1 April 2013, there were 64 stores. Over the intervening 14 months, five stores have closed and four more outlets have joined, giving the group 63 extant members.

Considering the unrelenting turmoil that has beset many of these members; some having been through several Retravision collapses, this stability has been welcomed.

“Our first year has exceeded our expectations,” said head of product and marketing Nick Fry. “We measure this in more than just sales. Whilst our sales have exceeded our forecasts, most importantly, members are reporting an increase in profitability, a great local acceptance of the Leading Appliances name, a very positive response to the Leading Appliances business model and great support from our key suppliers.”

Click here to sign up for our free daily newsletter

Fry said the major challenges have been securing the favour of suppliers, many of whom were weary following a series of retail group collapses; establishing internal structures like a POS system, member agreements, store livery and catalogues; and communication thoroughly with the new members, which is something the old Retravision was often criticised for not doing.

Having completed its year of “initiation and consolidation”, as Fry puts it, the group now plans on using the data it has collected and its learnings from the Leading Edge Group’s other verticals to exploit new opportunity and strengthen weaknesses. At a 2-day conference in Sydney in March, the Leading Appliances Advisory Committee convened to assess and review its supplier base, and to make plans for the inaugural Leading Appliances National Conference.

Unlike Narta, which has a penchant for the Mediterranean, or Betta Home Living jetting off to North America, Fry and his team has chosen the relatively close Gold Coast for this first get-together.

“We’ll bring together over 200 members and suppliers over four days as we showcase what a united and professional outfit we are, with guest speakers, breakout sessions, trade shows, workshops, forums and some after-hours entertainment,” he said.

“This will be the first time all of our members have come together since our inception and we’re all looking forward to the first of many Conferences. Watch this space: there are some exciting plans ahead for Leading Appliances in 2014!”