By James Wells

NEWCASTLE: Former Retravision NSW chairman, Paul Murphy, will open the doors to Harvey Norman Newcastle West tomorrow as the first of several stores in the former ‘Hunter Group’ that are expected to defect to the rival retail organisation.

According to a statement distributed today by Harvey Norman chief operating officer, John Slack-Smith, Murphy will be the franchisee of store 229 located at the 627-633 Hunter Street premises.

Murphy will remain landlord for the building which was purchased from Norman Ross in 1982, when the Churchill’s Retravision store was located in adjacent premises and when the Norman Ross business decided to relocate to the Garden City retail precinct in nearby Kotara.

“At the moment, we are madly doing stock adjustments and barcoding,” Murphy told this afternoon.

“It is rather exciting. There is a lot of work to regarding the shop fitout, but at least we can open the doors up for a soft opening and we will change some layouts in the new year.

“I think there is a great opportunity to show a broader range of products and take advantage of more updated systems.
By joining Harvey Norman we now have access to suppliers that weren’t previously available such as LG Electronics as well as an excellent infrastructure that unfortunately was not available previously.”

“We are now certainly able to move forward in a positive way for Christmas. Our opportunities are in the technology product as Harvey Norman is very strong in the computers area and we have a dedicated section within our new store to attract customers into the inner city area of Newcastle.”

Murphy said he was looking forward to working with the support staff at Harvey Norman’s head office in Flemington including existing acquaintances Gerry Harvey and  Ross Morgan as well as former Retravision NSW chief executive officer, Darrel Jones who is now the buyer for small appliances, barbecues and outdoor products.

In addition to Cobar, Newcastle West, Bennetts Green and Muswellbrook, Murphy hinted that Port Stephens Retravision is conducting a stocktake and will be moving over to Harvey Norman in the near future.

“There is probably another six or seven looking at things and a few more make look at things differently after they consider yesterday’s outcome with the split between Queensland and Victoria. It will push the buttons for some, but I imagine that it is now a case of getting through Christmas, getting stock through the interim supply situation and making their mind up in the new year. Personally, from my point of view, every store has to evaluate it for themselves.