Investor group, Aspire42 is breathing new life into Radio Rentals South Australia with the launch of a new online appliance rental business, Snaffle.

Aspire42 recently completed its acquisition of the South Australian Radio Rentals brand name and inRent receivables book.

Radio Rentals was strategically withdrawn from the market in April 2019, impacting retail and online sales operations in South Australia, Queensland (trading as R.T. Edwards) and New South Wales (trading as gedd!t).

However, the consumer rental business, inRent, which finances rental contracts through various retailers, was owned by a separate entity and not impacted by the Radio Rentals exit.

Aspire42 chief marketing officer, Paul Winslow said the Radio Rentals name was an “attractive option” to complement the group’s existing consumer leasing brands – Essential Appliance Rentals and Make It Mine.

“To take on an iconic name and have it as an integral part of the history of our new brand was an added bonus on the commercial opportunity to take on the inRent book of business. We can now offer loyal customers a new rental option within a business that serves the whole country,” he told Appliance Retailer.

The rental and subscription economy are such a common part of modern life and Aspire42 wants to bring the consumer leasing industry in line with that and away from its historical association, Winslow said.

“It’s about how we treat our customers. In the first instance we look to give them a better deal. That starts with pricing; we want to break the mould of compounding the cost of a rental if you take out a longer contract. We don’t believe people should be penalised for wanting to pay for products in this way.”

When asked how consumer buying behaviour has evolved over the past few months as a result of Covid-19, Winslow believes the fundamental change has been the accelerated move to online shopping away from bricks and mortar stores.

“This process has been happening for years, but Covid-19 has just fast-forwarded the evolution. Our approach mirrors that trend in terms of the move to online, but we are very much looking to what comes next in terms of how people want to access the products they want. We have also seen a big increase in sales of electricals, particularly in the early months of lockdown,” he said.

Aspire42 and Snaffle managing director, Wayne Richardson added: “The 60-year legacy of providing affordable consumer goods via Radio Rentals in South Australia will continue but with a modern online twist. Aspire42 is dedicated to fair, responsible, and compliant leases that allow our valued customers access to must-have products. This acquisition is a demonstration of our confidence in the industry, customers, and staff. We are determined to reimagine and reinvigorate the appliance rental market.”

Snaffle will initially focus on former Radio Rentals and inRent customers, offering new rental contracts from one to three years with low prices and flexible rental terms on home appliances, furnishings, and electronics. The launch will kick off with a ‘Don’t tell Dave Sale’ (Dave is Snaffle’s chief financial officer) which will include discounts on popular products from Apple, Samsung, Sony and more.

Radio Rentals South Australia is a different business from the Thorn Radio Rentals business that operates across the rest of Australia and closed its stores in April this year.