By James Wells

ALICE SPRINGS: Extraordinary results from Retravision’s Large Format Store (LFS) pilot program of 10 stores over 1,000 square metres may be the blueprint that saves the geographically significant retailer from decline and reinjects the passion required for rejuventation.

The 10 Large Format Stores over 1,000 square metres in Retravision Western have grown from representing 27 per cent or a little over a quarter of the group’s business in the nine months to 31 March 2006, to now representing 31 per cent of the business – or almost a third of the turnover over the same period year on year.

When the LFS stores are isolated in the state of Western Australia – they represent half of the turnover generated from that state which also includes other businesses including – West Coast Hi-Fi, Electric Sales, Fridge & Washer City and the remaining stores branded Retravision that are not included in the LFS family.

The data presented at the seminar yesterday during a presentation on the pilot program by Retravision Western marketing manager, Craig Larkin, is likely to result in further pilot programs – particularly in the eastern states where the Retravision business is in decline.

Retravision recognised the need to tier its business at last year’s seminar due to a lack of consistency between the offer from small stores 200 or 300 square metres and larger stores sized 2,000 or 3,000 square metres.

The Western Group was chosen to pilot the program due to its high concentration of large format stores which commenced in the new financial year.

Before introducing the program which took large format stores and marketed them separately from the other stores, Retravision Western group management briefed the stores that would not qualify and explained the need to develop this business plan which is expected to generate growth of 15 per cent year on year for the next three years.

An approach was then made to suppliers to create a framework for action and expected results. Meetings with suppliers addressed the need for transparency and accountability, targets and measures for success.

Within 15 days the first Large Format Store catalogue was released in late August. Speed to market was recognized as one of the key factors in helping the program succeed.

The catalogues focused on attracting a higher value customer who was comfortable to make a high value purchase within our store environment and specific categories were highlighted to consumers including high end audio visual and small appliance categories such as coffee.

It is hoped that the findings from this unique program will act as a catalyst for the Retravsion business as a whole to emphasise the value in branding, customer loyalty and supplier support that large format stores can deliver.

The success of the program relied on breaking traditional ideologies within the fragmented business and relying on strict discipline, trust, transparency, loyalty, team work, common goals and alignment.

The next step for the business could be the implementation of franchise agreements which would extend these verbal promises to contractual obligations.

By developing a framework of business based on accountability, Retravision can turn around its business which is struggling to define itself as a business representing 200 square metre stores through to 3,000 square metre stores. believes that Retravision Southern is looking to rollout a similar program in the state of Victoria in the near future. More work is required however to obtain critical mass so they can undertake a pilot program of their own.

Ultimately, Retravision would like to implement this program in the key state of New South Wales, which is expected to help deliver a large proportion of the $500 million growth expected in the next three years.

The group is starting to see benefit from collective action from an aligned team rather than individuals pursing independent self-interested business outcomes.