EXCLUSIVE: Sharp Sacks Entire Agency Network
Some of the agents who have had their contracts terminated have worked with Sharp for more than 35 years.
ChannelNews understands that Sharp management in Australia have been instructed to make the move by Sharp Japan. Sharp currently has three master agents who employ 12 staff.
The territories affected by the decision include South Australia, New South Wales Metro and regional excluding capital Cities, Northern Territory and Queensland.
More than 80% of Sharps TV and appliance business was delivered by the agents whose contracts have been terminated.
WA that makes up 12% of Sharps revenue is currently served by Sharp employees.
The #1 State for Sharp is Queensland.
Director of Sales and Marketing at Sharp Joe Constantino said “The model has changed retailers such as JB Hi Fi, The Good Guys and shortly, Harvey Norman have moved to centralised buying for their entire networks resulting in us now using our account managers to service these accounts”.
He added” What we needed and what we have put into place is better in-store merchandising. We recognised that retailers needed better in-store support and promotions if we were going to attract consumers to the Sharp products whether it be a TV or appliance. We needed to improve the customer experience at a store level and that is what we are doing. In reality we should have made this decision six months ago”.
A Harvey Norman franchisee in Queensland who in the past has been serviced by agency personnel said “This is not a good move, we have worked with agency staff for decades, we know them and we have always got good service”.
One of the agents affected said “Sharp is a push brand and we have been doing the pushing. Not too many retailers pick up the phone and say they want to stock Sharp TV’s or appliances. We have excellent relationships with our retailers and these relationships will not be replaced by merchandisers”.
One agent said that since the news had got out that Sharp had terminated his contract several other brands had contacted him to represent their appliance brand.
Sharp who is currently restructuring their global operations after heavy losses has instructed Australian management to cut costs right across their operation.
On Friday the Japanese Corporation that is set to report a$2.8 Billion dollar loss denied that they are looking to exit the solar battery or home TV market.
They also said it had no plans now to revise its earnings forecast for the fiscal year ending March 31, after the Mainichi said it could post a full-year net loss of US $2.1 billion.
Sharp currently expects an annual net loss of 30 billion yen.
Japanese media previously said it could post a loss of close to 200 billion yen.
Earlier today Monday Sharp Australia issued the below statement:
Sharp Australia has restructured its store representation to meet the changing needs within the retail industry.
Sharp is committed to supporting its retail partners at the shop floor and is focusing store representation on training, merchandising and sell through.
A trial program has been run in the Sydney metropolitan area and has proved a resounding success delivering significant benefits to both our retail partners and Sharp.
“We believe the program run in Sydney has delivered the results we were looking for; we will now roll this out across all of our markets,” said Joe Costantino, Deputy Managing Director Sharp Corporation.
“Some of our agents have been representing Sharp for over 25 years” said Costantino. “We wish all our Sales Agents the very best in their future endeavours and thank them for their invaluable support.”
The new structure of store representation will be phased in over the next six (6) months.