By Paul Hayes

MELBOURNE, VIC: With collapsed retailer Clive Peeters’ stores now potentially up for grabs, industry heavyweights JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman are tipped as the most likely to swoop in for a bargain.

The stores may be obtainable after it was announced yesterday that Clive Peeters had been forced into receivership due to a combination of mounting debt, poor sales results and company fraud.

But despite their potential availability, outgoing JB Hi-Fi chief executive, Richard Uechtritz, told that the immense size of the stores means they are not as immediately attractive as they may seem.

“The stores are too big for most in the industry.”

Uechtritz believes that the combination of store sizes and Clive Peeters’ significant advertising budget may have artificially boosted their sales numbers, making the stores a risky proposition.

“If you’re a one off retailer, you can’t necessarily look at the sales numbers because of their advertising budget.

“You might have to reduce those numbers by around 25 to 30 per cent to get a more accurate picture.”

Regardless of the potential hazards, Uechtritz said that his company still has, admittedly cautious, interest in the sites.

“Like any of the players, we will certainly have a look.

“But we will be looking at selected stores really as a potential real estate play.”