By Martin Vedris

FRANKSTON: With yet another store closure for the Retravision business, it is natural to think this will weaken the Retravision group. However, the ex-Frankston Retravision proprietor thinks differently.

While there are commentators in the industry suggesting that the three Retravision groups, Western, Northern and Southern, must inevitably merge, the outgoing Frankston store proprietor, Tony Ling, disagrees.

“I don’t think three independent companies is such a bad thing,” Ling said. “To try to pull it all together nationally is a massive task, and I don’t think the financial struggle that Retravision Southern had is the result of the McKnight’s store write down.

“I don’t think individual stores are necessarily all struggling, there are some who are. I think every group has got people who are keeping everything tight and trying to make ends meet. I don’t think Retravision is any different to any other group in that regards. As a group they’ve got plenty of strength — it is still a successful business.”

Ling suggests that the business model needs to focus on larger footprint superstores and less individual retailers however.

“Going forward I think it will need to grow in store floor size but diminish in the number of shareholders. This will naturally evolve I think as stores like myself make the financial decision to either go bigger or close.

“There will be retailers who stand together or decide to take the plunge and go bigger. There will be other smaller ones who think its too big a risk and not worth the return who will go and do something else with their life.”

Ling also says that the Retravision group is far from a spent force with what he sees as a sound strategy in place to survive the current tightening times.

“I don’t think Retravision is going to disappear,” he said. “They’re too big for that but they’ve just got to sharpen the way they do everything and they’re working towards that and I see some excellent positives in the thinking and their plans for the future.”

While some might call this a loss for the Retravision group, Ling sees it as a restructuring that will lead to a stronger business.

“I don’t think it is getting weaker, it is getting a little smarter. Look at the Mornington store that relocated to more than double their size. They are doing really, really well but their neighbouring store, Frankston, is going and I think that’s a rationalisation …  it’s not necessarily a weakening it’s just a shifting of the strengths.”