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MELBOURNE – Talk about a leopard changing its spots. Australian online dealer Ruslan Kogan – who famously declared he would never open a bricks-and-mortar store – has done just that.

Kogan who was the online retailer who in 2011, predicted that
Apple would pull out of relationships with the likes of JB Hi Fi and Harvey
Norman within three years only to have egg on his face when his prediction
failed to happen, loves to talk about his success, but refuses to reveal sales
or profit figures.

Last week he opened his first bricks-and-mortar store in
Prahran’s Chapel Street. 

On his famous words that Kogan.com would always remain
online-only, he now says: “I should not have used a blanket
statement.”

He added: “We’re opening a pop-up store because we have huge amounts of
data about the shopping behaviour of our customers that we can use to enhance
their experience – whether they are shopping online or in a store.”

What
is not known is whether the data reveals that a lot of people are not returning
to buy from Kogan after initally buying a Kogan product, or whether the cost of
trading online is getting too expensive for the mass retailer who is known for
generating self publicity. 

Will there be more pop-up Kogan stores? Ruslan Kogan wasn’t saying.

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