Exclusive by Patrick Avenell

Clive Peeters managing director, Greg Smith, empathises with Retravision, and other independent, store owners currently doing it tough. Unfortunately, he sees little relief for the little guy in the coming months.

Speaking to Current.com.au this afternoon, Greg Smith was asked how he felt about the independent store owners, mostly Retravision proprietors, who have gone on the record recently lamenting the current state of the industry. Despite being at the head of one of the largest listed retail groups in the country, Smith was not immune to their concerns.

“Look, you always have empathy with the independent retailer – it wasn’t a long time ago that we were a lot smaller,” said Smith. “These are hardworking people with businesses.”

When asked to address one of the main concerns of the smaller retailer – advertising – Smith was pragmatic.

“The industry is becoming increasingly dominated by the bigger groups, and they all have significant advertising spends.”

Although Smith made reference to Harvey Norman’s recent cuts in advertising expenditure, he did predict that if the economy contracted further, advertising from the retail groups was set to become more aggressive.

“In the new year, pricing advertising will become more aggressive as people spend less.”

In order to avert this aggressive price competition, Smith is looking to the Government to keep unemployment below 5 per cent. If this figure can be achieved, he thinks that the retail groups should do well enough to not necessitate such an aggressive campaign.

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