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Betta Living CEO Graeme Cunningham talks business exclusively to Channel News.

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It appears the only way is up for Queensland based BSR, owners of  Betta Group, who announced sales of 3% to year end March 31.

Recently, it emerged the retailer, now trading as Betta Home Living, picked up 40 stores from the troubled Retravision group who jumped ship to Betta.

ChannelNews (CN) caught up with CEO Graeme Cunningham (GC) to get the lowdown on how business is going.

CN: How’s business at the moment and has trading improved in the last quarter?

GC: “Business is still slow generally although we have seen a slight improvement in the qtr over last year”

“Consumer confidence is the most challenging thing for all retail at present. Specifically for CE we are still seeing margin pressure in key AV catgeories.”

CN: What are the main drivers of sales and top product categories?

GC: “Consumers are very cautious at present, however we are still seeing improved results when there is added value for consumers. There are a few areas of growth for CE at present.

Coffee is particularly strong, as are a number of portable appliance categories. We are looking for Air con to be a winner this year, fingers crossed.”

CN: What percentage of your total sales comes from online?

GC: “Online sales are only a small part of our sales, around 3%. “

 

CN: Do you think the poor retail environment and customer spending will improve going forward?

GC: “I believe the last qtr will be stronger in the lead up to Christmas, but the longer term depends on the management of the overall political and economic environment and the consumer confidence that this can potentially generate.”

CN: Has your store count increased in the past year?

GC: “We have added about 38 stores with more to come.”

And with the demise of retailers like WOW, a period of major consolidation is going on in the CE industry, which could benefit larger players, which JB Hi-Fi boss Terry Smart admitted to CN last month.

However, in the meantime the same old bug bears of cautious consumer, margin pressure and economic uncertainty remain.

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