Leading Edge acquires ailing telecom dealer chain

Telco buying group takes over five of Phone Xpress’ 13 stores in SA and NSW

Leading Edge Telecoms has acquired five Phone Xpress stores in South Australia and western NSW from the ailing Telstra dealer's administrators.

Voluntary administrators, Ferrier Hodgson, were appointed to the Phone Xpress chain on June 20. At the time of going to press, a spokesperson for the firm was unavailable to discuss the reasons behind its appointment.

As part of the acquisition, Leading Edge Telecoms will pick up five of Phone Xpress' 13 stores. These include shopfronts in Adelaide as well as regional areas of SA, along with premises in Broken Hill, NSW.

Leading Edge telecoms general manager, Allan Evans, said it had disregarded the eight other stores - three because of potential conflict with existing franchises and five because they were not profitable. He said the acquisition complemented its business model. The retail buying group's back-end systems and experience made it well placed to support the stores.

While it could look to franchise the stores at a later date, having a select group of company-owned stores would allow Leading Edge to get a better idea of day-to-day operational and business issues facing its franchise network, he said.

"These stores bring us closer to our customers and makes us more aware of the day-to-day pressures our franchisees are feeling," Allan said.

All 17 staff from the five Phone Xpress stores had accepted jobs under the new ownership, Evans said. Leading Edge is currently re-stocking and rebranding the Phone Xpress stores.

"Phone Xpress was part of the Retravision buying group so any stock that was left went back to Retravision," Allan said.

Later on, Leading Edge Telecom hoped to rollout its new concept store strategy across the new shopfronts, Allan said. This will see it provide live bars for customers to interact with products. The first live bar was implemented at its Yeppoon, Queensland, store earlier this year.

Leading Edge Telecoms is part of Australian buying group, Leading Edge. It now has 120 locally-owned stores nationally.

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