The first conference for The Winning Group was held this week on Hamilton Island and included the Winning Appliances retail business, Appliances Online, Handy Crew, Big Brown Box and Best Home Chef as well as 20 of its closest suppliers.

John Winning

“We decided to host a conference for a small group of our larger volume supply partners,” John Winning Jnr told Appliance Retailer in our recent Mid-Year Report Card.

The Winning Group conference opened on August 9 and concluded today.

“This will be an opportunity for us to reflect on the last few years, provide an update on where we’re at and discuss how we, as a business, can grow together with our supply partners.”

The decision to hold the conference follows the departure of chief relationship officer Peter Harris who has left the business and joined competitor and fellow Narta member Bing Lee.

Harris’ role as chief relationship officer has since been taken over by Winning.

“As group CEO, I will be taking over the majority of the responsibilities of Peter’s role for now, as the position requires an in-depth understanding of the industry and the relationships we hold with all of our suppliers,” Winning told Appliance Retailer.

“Peter remains a close friend of mine, the Winning family and the broader business. There are no hard feelings and we look forward to seeing him continue to succeed and progress his career within the industry at Bing Lee.

“At the end of the day, Bing Lee and Winning Group are very different businesses with different strategies and we’re confident both can have very successful and dynamic futures.”

Peter Harris submitted the following Mid-Year Report Card to Appliance Retailer before leaving the Winning Group:

How has the first half of 2015 been for your business?

Australian retailers have been faced with challenging conditions in recent times: tumbling commodity prices, rising unemployment and political uncertainty have all put downward pressure on the economy. Despite the challenges, Winning Group has had a positive start to 2015 with strong double-digit growth for the five months to May.

What are your predictions for the second half of the year?

The combination of a booming property market, the government’s Small Business Package, and record low interest rates should help bolster consumer confidence, encourage Australians to invest in their homes, and also spur small businesses to invest in consumer electronics and other electrical items. From a Winning Group perspective, we are expecting a strong second half to the year. We are continuing to experience double-digit month-on-month growth and the acquisition of Electro Seconds has put us in a good position to further our presence in the clearance outlet space.

What opportunities do you see for the electrical retailing industry?

Service and distribution are the greatest opportunities for appliance retailers but they are also the biggest differentiators. Instant consumerism is difficult for bulky good retailers to get their heads around; however, those who approach it by putting the customer first will reap the rewards.

What threats are currently present in the industry?

Price erosion and the volatility of the Australian dollar are threats currently facing the industry. Although competitive pricing is important we also believe that Australians see the value in receiving superior service. This is something we have built our business model on and as per my previous answer; service and distribution will be the reasons why some retailers will succeed more than others.