By Patrick Avenell

In the current era of retail Darwinism, the choice is simple: adapt or die. Some retailers have been quick to change: Winning Appliances launched Appliances Online; Betta Electrical joined the powerful Narta Group and JB Hi-Fi is taking on the parallel importers.

Others have not been so flexible: Harvey Norman still has no online sales capability while Retravision’s website doesn’t even have prices.

One of the oldest players in the appliance game, Whitfords of Five Dock, in Sydney, is accepting the challenge. Next month, it will launch a new showroom and a new website to sell directly to consumers online.

First established in 1922, Whitfords has stayed within the Whitford family for 90 years. A member of the Narta Group, Whitfords has shown great resilience to remain a family-owned single-site retailer in an era of franchised groups and store networks.

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The new showroom, at 165-167 Great North Road, Five Dock, is a larger store than its predecessor, with Liz Whitford saying the extra space can more effectively display the brands on sale. Furthermore, the new showroom will operate in unison with Whitfords new online proposition.

“We are relaunching our showroom in conjunction with the launch of our website to allow our customers the convenience of being able to shop online with us,” she said. “The new showroom incorporates larger kitchen displays and also allowed us the opportunity to showcase our existing suppliers, as well new suppliers who have come on board with us, such as Neff and Gaggenau.

“The goal is to increase our sales and be regarded as having excellent customer service.”

To celebrate the new showroom’s opening and to drum up publicity, Whitfords is hosting a launch party early next month.