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Distributor Mutes Mass Retailers

By Sarah Falson | Monday | 20/08/2007

High-end sound equipment distributor, Qualifi, said it has successfully removed its Mordaunt-Short product range from mass merchant retailers including JB Hi-Fi as it made a mistake selling them there in the first place.

"Mordaunt-Short is being repositioned," said Qualifi marketing manager, Ralph Grundl, of the decision which was made in June to focus Mordaunt-Short distribution on specialist channels only.

"The brand itself is globally sold only in specialists as larger retailers don't have the matching electronics and packaging needs that the brand requires."

The decision to withdraw all Mordaunt-Short stock from JB Hi-Fi stores was "mutual" between Qualifi and the retailer after almost two years of unsuccessful retail staff training, according to Grundl.

"It was felt that the new retail direction would protect the Mordaunt-Short brand name," he said.

The entire Mordaunt-Short sound equipment range, from its flagship $10,000 Performance series to its $18,000 Alumni series is now positioned in 60 less retail spaces than it was two months ago, but Qualifi hopes to hike its specialist channel presence as a result.

"We're now in 30 or so specialists around the country, but we're going back to the other specialists [who don't currently stock Mordaunt-Short] and we are telling them we made a mistake - it is a specialist brand and they should re-consider stocking it. It's one of the oldest sound brands in the country but chain dealers don't have the resources to support it," said Grundl.

Qualifi is now distributing two new Mordaunt-Short sound systems, including the $1,799 Alumni sub-sat package and the $2,200 Mezzo loudspeakers.

The Alumni is being marketed as an affordable, 2.1-channel sub-sat system that boasts Mordaunt-Short's trusted loudspeaker pedigree, while the Mezzo, which comes in a choice of either floor-standing or stand-mounted models, is a higher-end descendent from Mordaunt-Short's flagship Performance series.

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