The invasion of mass market retailers is gaining momentum, with several players set to enter the market Harvey Norman has occupied for so long.
Coles-Myer is reportedly looking to build on the success of Myer Electric, its large Melbourne-based computer department located in the Myer city outlet, with a similar model in Sydney.
Last month Frank Kavanagh, Myer-Grace Bros national buyer for computers and software, told ARN: "We do have some exciting expansion plans of our own and will be announcing those to our suppliers in the next few weeks." (See July 22, page 1.)In line with this comment, it was revealed last week that Coles-Myer will have the Melbourne model in its Sydney Grace Brothers store by the start of October.
When asked to comment on Coles-Myer's Sydney plans, Kavanagh said he did not wish to say anything until he had discussed it with major suppliers.
Meanwhile, ARN can reveal that Dick Smith Electronics is soon to open its second Powerhouse store in Penrith, in direct competition to the Harvey Norman outlet down the road. The location is believed to be the former BBC site on the corner of Mulgoa Road and Batt Street.
Dick Smith Electronics was similarly tight-lipped about its plans, with its spokesperson refusing to comment.
However, one industry observer told ARN that it was surprising that the second Dick Smith Electronics Powerhouse has taken so long to open, given the apparent success of its Bankstown operation. The expansion is set to continue too, with another store opening soon at Moore Park and one in Melbourne later in the year, with Nunawading a possible location.
News of potential competition didn't phase Harvey Norman's general manager, computers, Tony Gattari. He said Harvey Norman has never assumed it would have the market sector all to itself. "Competition is great. It helps you lift your game, and forces our franchise operators to be on their toes.
"It's good to see that other companies like Woolworths and Coles-Myer are supporting the cause of mass-market retailers selling PCs."