Last week, Panasonic Australia announced its decision to withdraw from the local television market, following a rich history spanning more than 50 years.

Although Panasonic enjoyed much success in the TV market over the years, in an exclusive interview with Appliance Retailer, Panasonic Australia managing director, Paul Reid said he is optimistic about the future.

“Panasonic has never been just a TV brand but a broadly diversified business. TVs were just a small part of our portfolio,” he said.

“We have our highly successful retail and commercial air conditioning range, benchtop appliances including microwaves, bread makers and rice cookers, Lumix imaging products, our ever-growing personal care products which recently expanded from male shavers and trimmers to female facial cleansers and hair dryers, and the re-introduction of Technics audio to the Australian market.”

While acknowledging the current economic headwinds facing Australian retail, Reid said the decision was based on an analysis of market dynamics and characteristics which found that the company’s resources were better used to focus on other business areas.

Reid confirmed that Panasonic’s retail partners and end consumers can expect further expansion in benchtop appliances, new additions to the Technics range and potential new categories for Panasonic Australia in 2020.

“Retail has been challenging but some of our partners have been performing really well, particularly during the Christmas period. I believe there is reason for optimism with positive signs in the housing market and I expect improved conditions towards the latter half of 2020.”

Reid also shared his message to Panasonic’s valued retail partners: “Our relationship with you is comprehensive – well beyond TVs – so we will remain a strong and loyal partner and we look forward to continuing our relationship in the years to come with our huge product portfolio. Panasonic is here to stay.”

Panasonic opened a television factory in 1968 in Penrith in Sydney’s west (which was in operation until 2006) and the first Panasonic black and white television was released in 1969 under the National brand. Five years on, Panasonic introduced its first colour television. Fast forward to 2004, Panasonic launched its first flat screen plasma then came the hype of 3D TV in 2010 and the company’s first OLED flagship EZ1000 was introduced in 2017.