Sony’s biggest customer, JB Hi has said that they are not happy with Sony Australia’s expansion plans into Sony Central branded stores that are now popping up across Australia.
A search of the business registration database at the Australian Securities and Investment Commission reveals 19 registered Sony Central names as well as a registration for an entity called The Sony Shop Pty Ltd.
The CEO of leading CE retailer JB Hi-Fi Richard Uechtritz claims that as Sony’s biggest customer, he is not happy with the spread of Sony Central Stores into new suburbs such as Drummoyne in NSW and Robina on the Gold Coast.
“Overall we don’t support their store opening strategy. It is not like an Apple store where Apple is a brand that owns a category. Sony is not in the same league as Apple and they definitely don’t own any categories. We are their biggest customer across music, gaming, display and several other areas.” Said Uechtritz.
He added “At an Apple store they are not like a Sony Central store, desperate to close a deal or aggressively sell you a deal. They tend to educate a consumer on Apple products and often refer customers to JB Hi Fi. If Sony intends to open 19 stores this a real threat and we will take it up with them as we don’t like the idea of vendors opening their own branded retail entities. Overall, we don’t support the move and suspect it could become an issue”.
“In today’s marketplace consumers want retail choice. A Sony Central store does not deliver retail choice. Two or three stores in the past of not been a problem and I suspect that these stores are not kicking many goals when it comes to sales”. He said.
Sony was not available to comment about their new retail strategy.