The Victoria-based, Australian Stock Exchange-listed company is one of the largest and fastest growing computing and home entertainment product retailers across the Tasman. Its debut store on Auckland’s Queen Street is the first of many for this country the company says.
According to regional manager Keegan Smith-Frowd, JB Hi-Fi plans to open around four more stores before Christmas, including a superstore.
“We will open up a superstore in New Lynn in a few months. The superstore covers all products from computers, cameras and plasma screens. It will be a big part of our business.”
JB Hi-Fi also purchased the 11-store electrical chain Hill & Stewart in March, but Smith-Frowd says there are no current plans to convert these into JB Hi-Fi outlets.
“We are running the stores as two different entities, with the same corporate parent. I don’t know if we will stock the same items and brands; I think there will be some difference between the stores.”
In a statement, JB Hi-Fi CEO Richard Uechtritz said the Hill & Stewart acquisition gives the company a good base in New Zealand on which to roll out the JB Hi-Fi store model. “We remain confident that New Zealand consumers will embrace the JB Hi-Fi offering, which will be unique in this market,” he states.
Smith-Frowd says the company will work with the New Zealand channel for supply, as well as using its Australian contacts.
Meanwhile, independent buying group National Associated Retail Traders of Australia (NARTA), of which JB Hi-Fi is the largest member, has also expressed interest in the New Zealand market.
According to JB Hi-Fi, several non-aligned local retailers are interested in joining NARTA to leverage the greater purchasing power offered by the buying group.