By Keri Algar

PERTH, WA: When Kitchen HQ opened its Perth doors last year an embattled economy was continuing to cycle the Federal Government stimulus packages of 2009. The executive chairman of the premium kitchen appliance store, Rick Hart, said the environment has proved challenging, but that the business is well positioned to make the most of a future economic upturn. 

“We’re progressing along pretty well. It’s been certainly a tough retail climate out there so we’re wading through those challenges but it’s going along as well as can be expected,” Hart told

“I think the environment is such that it’s going to be a really tough set of retail conditions but having got through the worst of it, we should look forward to some modest growth over the next six to eight months until conditions improve.”

Hart said that despite expectations of an economic upturn not occuring until next year, the combination of a strengthening West Australian economy coupled with cooking show popularity means consumers are looking at upgrading their kitchen appliances.

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“There’s an enormous amount of interest in kitchen appliances as a result of all the cooking shows. Therefore, that transfers into interest in cooking appliances which is good for that sector of the market.”

“The [high end] is only a part of the market, it’s a part that I’m confident will keep improving because I think the WA economy will prove to be fairly strong over the next few years.”

Hart said that pioneering the upmarket kitchen appliance category in the 1980s was a more difficult proposition than it is today as it was tricky to encourage people to spend the levels of money that’s required to purchase a premium brand.

“The major challenge now is the level of competition. There’s much more competition out in the marketplace – that’s both from bricks and mortar retailers and the threat of online retailers – it’s making it harder for all sectors of the industry.”