JB Hi-Fi moves into IT retail

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JB Hi-Fi moves into IT retail

ASX-listed retailer JB Hi-Fi is moving into IT retail, announcing its intention to sell computer products through its network of 60 stores Australia-wide.

ASX-listed retailer JB Hi-Fi is moving into IT retail, announcing its intention to sell computer products through its network of 60 stores Australia-wide.

The consumer electronics retailer will go against the likes of Harvey Norman, Dick Smith, Officeworks, Computer Specialists, Electrical Retailers and other mass merchants operating in the IT space.

Richard Uechtritz, CEO of JB Hi-Fi said the prospect of entering a saturated computer market was exciting and wasn't concerned about competing against Harvey Norman's giant $1 billion computer business.

“I’m too old to be scared. I’m more excited than anything because every market we have entered has been saturated. We have done well in the areas of DVD sales, stereo sales and CD sales,” he said.

“For me saturated means it’s a big market and computers tie in with our other categories, including TV, portable audio, digital cameras so it’s not new for us.”

Uechtritz believes JB has all the ingredients to make it a top three retailer although it won’t have the same market share as Harvey Norman.

“You don’t go into something like this unless you aim for the top, it just has to happen. We are just going to be successful and be one of the top three retailers. We are a box mover and the computer is a box,” said Uechtritz.

He believes computer products suit the JB stores located in shopping centres. Computers are becoming mass products, with consumers more knowledgable than ever, said Uechtritz.

“Big W became a substantial computer reseller overnight with Acer, so there’s no reason with we can’t be just as successful, especially with the high traffic we receive in our stores.”

Uechtritz wouldn't discuss what products it would sell or who the vendors are, or how many stores will hold these products. However David Finn, MD at printer vendor Kyocera said it would sell its printers through JB's stores.

JB Hi-Fi is expected to open six more stores throughout 2006, taking its total number of stores to 66. The retail chain also plans to open 13 new stores throughout 2007.
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