EXCLUSIVE: The head of the consumer electronics division and a director of Harvey Norman board David Ackery, has said that he will not be kicking Sony out of their stores after ChannelNews revealed exclusively that Sony had registered 19 Sony Central store names in Australia and were set to open two new stores in NSW and Queensland in competition with the mass retailer.
Speaking at the inaugural Harvey Norman Global Electrical Franchise Conference Ackery admitted that he had taken the matter up with Sony CEO Carl Rose who told him that the registrations were “old” and had been registered some time ago.
“This issue and the story in ChannelNews have caused me a lot of grief. We will not be kicking Sony out of our stores he said. The issue has been discussed with Sony management” Ackery said.
Currently Sony is working with several leading consumer electronics retailers to deliver branded Sony stores across Australia, among those retailers partnering with Sony are Video Pro in Queensland and Bing Lee in NSW.
A Sony source said “The issue has been calmed down and we believe that senior management will re-evaluate the Sony Central concept as there is definitely the potential of conflict if more stores are opened after Drummoyne and Robina on the Gold Coast”.
Last week Four Harvey Norman franchisees contacted by ChannelNews in NSW and Queensland said that they were concerned about the expansion of Sony Central stores as they have the potential to take “significant business away from Harvey Norman”.
“What Harvey Norman management have to do is stop the spread of these stores now before they become a major chain. Right now two or three stores are not a threat but 19 are and I suspect that Gerry will tell them that if they continue to develop 19 stores that we will no longer sell Sony products. This will hurt Sony more than Harvey Norman as there are ample products to fill the Sony void. While they are a big brand, they are losing their lustre and it is just as easy to sell a Samsung, LG or Panasonic product in place of a Sony product”. said a NSW Harvey Norman franchise.
“It appears that Sony is being greedy. I think the whole issue is about profitability and Sony wanting a bigger slice of the take. 19 stores is a big retail chain for one brand and we have been told that as part of the recent restructuring at Sony, sales and marketing staff are now focusing on helping grow the Sony Central stores. This effort should be going into helping Harvey Norman and JB Hi Fi to sell more products” said a senior manager at a leading Harvey Norman store in Queensland.
Phil Moujares, the General Manager at Bing Lee, refused to discuss the Sony Central stores.