In the face of rumour, innuendo and cold hard evidence that its suppliers are moving towards direct-selling models, retail steamroller Harvey Norman has "drawn a line in the sand" and will boycott any vendor who sells direct.
Tony Gattari, HN's general manager, computers and communications, feels the traditional distribution roles of manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers are under threat because all the major global players are "living in fear of the so-called 'Dell model' ".
"We are now moving into this incredibly dangerous area where global vendors are beginning to feel they have to sell direct because of the success of Dell and the Internet," Gattari said.
Taking a stand against this invasion of retail turf, HN is asking all retailers - large and small - to join its proposed boycott of any manufacturer incorporating a direct-selling component into its distribution channels. "It is just not on," Gattari exclaimed. "Let us go into this battle with unity."
"If we have to compete against our manufacturers and suppliers in selling product, our fundamental rights as a retailer are being threatened and we will not let that occur without a fight.
"There are no grey shades here," he said. "It is a black-and-white issue. We have drawn a line in the sand and we are not going to move.
"We cannot stop them from doing what they think they have to do but we would be remiss not to protect our interests and hit back if we have to.
"As far as we're concerned, if they want to do retail business then they can do it by themselves."
"We can't stop them but we can certainly stop buying from them," Gattari said.
For further details see this week's ARN (April 7, page 1).