JB Hi-Fi yesterday announced that it has begun selling appliances in selected concept stores under the “JB Hi-Fi Home” shingle, effectively killing off the Clive Anthonys brand. The initial trial of the concept will occur in Queensland, with all four Clive Anthonys store-in-store shopfronts in that state being rebranded to the new JB name.

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JB Hi-Fi CEO Terry Smart has come out to defend the move, saying that JB’s association with Clive Anthonys gives the company the necessary experience and expertise to sell appliances. However, despite selling appliances under the Clive Anthonys name for more than 8 years, he said it was time to retire the name because it had been “tarnished” in the industry.

“There are four stores that have existed in Queensland for the last couple of years that are combination of a JB Hi-Fi store and a small appliances-only Clive Anthonys store next to it,” he said.

“We’re simply bringing under the one banner those two sides of the store. Effectively it just creates one store that has a full range of JB Hi-Fi products and also a range of small appliances, cooking, laundry and kitchen products.

“Unfortunately the Clive Anthonys banner has been tarnished with everything that’s gone on in the industry – be it Clive Peeters’ bankruptcy, be it JB saying we’re closing down Clive Anthonys – yet we still have a reasonable business that we do through those stores.

“I think it’s best that [the Clive Anthonys brand] gets retired. The opportunity really exists in leveraging the strength of the JB Hi-Fi brand.”

While Smart said it would effectively take at least a six-month trial period to gauge the success of the new Home concept stores, the real measure of success would be in consumers’ response to a re-imagined JB.

“At the end of the day the measure of success will be the increase in sales that we can achieve out of those stores and it will also very importantly be what happens to the traditional JB business,” said Smart. “We’ve got to maintain the traditional JB business as well and we’ve got to be very conscious of the perception around the brand.

But he conceded, “We don’t need too much growth to then justify rolling it into other locations”.