By Adam Coleman in Fiji

FIJI: In his opening address to the 45th national seminar at Sheraton Denarau Island, which is titled ‘To the Power of One’, Retravision chairman, Bill Harries, told 539 assembled delegates that the group "will be best served as a single united organisation”.

The theme of unity is nothing new for Retravision, it was one of three central points in former Chairman Ian Ray’s opening address in last year’s ‘beyond the horizon’ conference in Hobart, with the national office continuing to reinforce its desire that members support its ‘power partner’ suppliers and stock ‘core ranges’.

Retravision has seven power partners, namely Electrolux, Fisher & Paykel, Panasonic, Sony, Housewares International, Samsung and Sunbeam. These suppliers make up over 60 per cent of all the Group’s purchases. Core ranges are made up of the best selling lines and there are rewards in the form of rebates for those stores that support them.

Harries set about detailing the initiatives the group has undertaken in the past year, within trading conditions that were less than favourable.

“The flat housing market has had a detrimental impact on discretionary spending and in turn this has impacted negatively on the retail sector generally. The recently announced interest rate rise coupled with high fuel prices will most likely tighten consumer spending even further,” said Harries.

Worst performing of the category’s for Retravision was air conditioning, which recorded a 3.5 per cent decrease on last year due to “unseasonably cool weather during much of December”.

Better news for members was within the IT category, which has shown double digit growth for Retravision and is now the group’s fourth largest category.

“While the product lifecycles in IT are short and the margins are less than we would like, this category cannot be ignored by any Retravision member.”

In the AV category, Retravision has increased its market share in both LCD and plasma, however Harries was quick to point out it has been a tough category for the group, with the continually eroding price points and inconsistent supply from a number of vendors.

In the all important whitegoods category, Retravision’s purchases have shown 4.4 per cent growth over last year, but the Group failed to return a positive growth result in small appliances. The percentage of negative growth for small appliances was not provided in the address.