KMart pushing ahead with its office products

KMart pushing ahead with its office products

Following recent success with consumables, retail company KMart is planning to add low-end desktop printers, software, games and multimedia CD-ROMs to its range.

According to Chris Mano, KMart's assistant buyer, stationery and home office products, the computer category has been a "huge" growth market for the Coles-Myer-owned company and further expansions into printers and other peripherals is "just around the corner".

"The real growth opportunity for Kmart has been the increasing demand from the home user, whether they be children, university students, home offices or just people who want to do a bit of work at home," said Mano.

"Because we don't have the turnover on products they have at OfficeWorks, we can't always compete on price, but we do have the convenience of 160 stores where they only have about 35."

Mano believes his company has a big advantage over other larger retailers which don't have the through traffic of a Kmart store.

The demographics of the KMart shopper also mean there are particular products that work well in its stores, he said.

"A lot of our competitors - and even our sister companies - have been concentrating on the business client and ignoring the home user whereas we recognise the home is our greatest growth market," he said.

"The market is just booming. Computers have really become a commodity and these days mums and dads don't just buy milk and bread - they also need to buy a new printer cartridge for the kids or for themselves."

Mano said that while the Office1 home-brand of products - which suppliers are now packaging for Kmart - is rapidly expanding into the "dozens of different products" range, the retailer's best sellers are still the original Canon and Hewlett-Packard inkjet cartridges.

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