By Martin Vedris

ADELAIDE, SA: The star continues to rise for the Truscott’s retail group, which was bought by Dr Christopher Starrs in November 2006 and is growing with a new superstore added to the group, the purchase of the Casual Living furniture business and more stores to open.

Starrs has wasted no time in building his business. In September this year he purchased Casual Living, which is a leading furniture and bedding retailer trading in SA, Vic and NSW, which was placed into voluntary administration in June 2007. Then in October Starrs opened a large format store in the Noarlunga Homemakers Centre next to Harvey Norman. The store was called Truscott’s Casual Living, drawing on the established branding of both retail chains.

“This is the first of our ‘merged’ stores retailing computers, electrical, furniture and bedding, explained Starrs. It’s not original, but the sincerest form of flattery is imitation!”

Starrs revealed that he plans to close down the smaller stores in the Truscott’s group and focus on large format retail.

“We are continuing to rationalise stores; moving from small to large format, and from ‘destination shopping’ to ‘designated centres’.

“We are opening another new store in November or December this year,” Starrs advised. “We anticipate that November, December and January are going to be extremely busy and we are anticipating annual turn over to December 2008 to be in the $50 to 100 million category.”

Starrs originally bought the Truscott’s retail business, a chain of seven consumer electronics stores, from the then Betta Stores Limited (BSL), which was in receivership at the time. Shortly later, Starrs switched his Truscott stores to the Retravision WA buying group after just two months trading with the new Betta Stores Retail (BSR) group.

“When we did the comparisons, we found that Retravision was buying significantly better than BSR/BSL,” Starrs told today.

“Secondly, Retravision offered a central accounting system, which is immensely valuable. Thirdly, Retravision offers a warehousing structure in Adelaide.

“Retravision is working out well. Our sales have been increasing fairly steadily since the time when we purchased Truscott’s.”