By James Wells

MELBOURNE: JB Hi-Fi chief executive officer, Richard Uechtritz, has announced that whitegoods is an important part of the company’s future, after citing plans yesterday to acquire 11 Hill & Stewart stores in New Zealand.

The Hill & Stewart stores feature a broad mix of consumer electronics including audio-visual, whitegoods as well as small appliances.

“The bulk of the sales are in consumer electronics, but whitegoods is an important part of our future,” Uechtritz told

To reinforce its position in small appliances and whitegoods, Uechtritz also plans to open several new Clive Anthonys stores in Australia including its first Sydney store at Castle Hill and another in Queensland in either the Brisbane or Gold Coast areas.

“We are working on a number of other sites,” Uechtritz said.

The two new Clive Anthonys stores will be modeled on the refurbished Mermaid Waters store and will include some refurbishment adjustments.

“We will definitely be running JB stores in a lot of the shopping areas in Auckland which are self-explanatory where retailers should be. We expect to have at least six or seven stores in Auckland, so therefore we will come across the 11 locations that Hill & Stewart are in. They could be side by side like Domayne and Harvey Norman, but not every site will necessarily allow this to be possible,” Uechtritz said.

Uechtritz said he plans to open 13 JB Hi-Fi stores in Australia in the 12 month period to 30 June 2007.

“I would expect a similar number the following year,” he said.