Retailing Supernova: Dick Smith's new PowerHouse

Although Dick Smith Electronics has more than 100 stores throughout Australia, the retailer has, until now, foregone the superstore concept. However, that's all changed with the introduction of the PowerHouse, a 2,000-square-metre superstore located in Bankstown.

Dick Smith Electronics managing director Jeff Grover told Australian Reseller News the store is divided into five areas of specialty: communications, computers, electronics, entertainment and music. "The idea is that all of these areas are converging and in a lot of instances one item could logically exist in more than one area - if not all of them," he said. Additionally, the PowerHouse, which carries more than 20,000 products, includes a play area for children, an Internet bar, a Telstra kiosk, a Ham radio shack and an on-site technical service centre, Grover said.

Providing customers with a hands-on shopping experience is a big part of the PowerHouse concept, Grover says. "The store includes a fully functioning home office setting where computers, printers and fax machines are on hand for customers to try before they buy," he said. "There is also a home theatre demonstration area where customers can compare any combination of stereo or television equipment."

So why Bankstown? "We researched the demographics and infrastructure of a number of areas and found that Bankstown provides a wide cross-section of customers, is centrally located and is accessible by a number of routes," Grover said. "Space was also a consideration. The PowerHouse is six to eight times larger than the average Dick Smith store, so it's quite different to just opening a shopfront somewhere."

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