By James Wells

SAN FRANCISCO: Narta chairman, John Wipfli, today warned his group that after experiencing a year of consolidation like no other in our industry, further changes to the retail landscape are inevitable.

“We see some very interesting movements impacting our industry. Retravision and Betta Stores’ problems have created opportunities for our competitors, and us,” he said.

“The proposed Wesfarmers takeover of the Coles group will present potentially significant competitive pressures to traditional electrical retailers in the mass-market arena. Doubtlessly, Woolworths will respond to protect and grow their business, and I doubt whether we have seen the end of consolidation within our own retail sector.

“At our conference in Maui last year I noted that our industry had not seen such a rapid pace of change as it had in the preceding two years. Since Maui, that rate of change has accelerated. I can’t remember a 12 month period that comes even remotely close to this year’s rate of change.

“With change, comes opportunity, and we have all seen how our industry is reshaping itself to adapt to these new circumstances. Throw in the internet, and its increasingly significant influence, and you have a set of factors which will continue to reshape the industry, dramatically, in the not-too-distant future,” Wipfli said.

“All of these influences provide Narta members, and suppliers, good reason to sit-up and pay attention. The importance of our group, and our ability to work successfully, together, has never been more important. Not just the Narta members but also working together with our supplier partners.

“I can assure you that Narta has been and still is well-placed to continue to take advantage of opportunities as they arise, providing they meet Narta’s strategic objectives.

“Narta will continue to drive the strategies which have served it well over the past twelve months while continuing to refine its processes where required, to grow and use its volumes and market shares for the benefit of its members and supplier partners alike.”