EXCLUSIVE: Hitachi Look To Sell Appliances Direct, Retailers Not Happy
As Sharp struggles to hold onto share in the appliance market, arch rival Hitachi management, are shopping the concept of going direct to retailers with their whitegoods range, as opposed to using a distributor, a move that retailers have told ChannelNews “will not work”.
Hitachi Australia has a history of failure in the retail Channel, when they last went direct with TV’s Harvey Norman dumped the TV brand in a dispute over Full HD Vs standard HD.
This resulted in the Japanese Company handing the TV brand to local distributor Tempo who have managed to get the brand back into the retail channel with new Hitachi models set to be released shortly.
Tempo is also set to release a Hitachi soundbar and speakers.
According to retail sources Hitachi Australia management have visited retailers to sound out the concept of Hitachi supplying direct. Initially Hitachi only wants to supply two models of whitegoods however retailers have told ChannelNews that what is needed is the same range that Hitachi is selling overseas.
Another retailer said “This is like going back to the bad old days. The current Hitachi management in Australia don’t have the experience in dealing with retailers and this is a real concern”.
Arch rival Sharp under the management of now Deputy Managing director Joe Constantino, who prior to being appointed into the Deputy MD role was sales and marketing director in the consumer electronics and appliance division has seen their share of the combined TV and appliance market fall from $95M in sales in 2010 to less than $30M in 2016.
A Harvey Norman franchisee said “Japanese Companies in Australia are not good at distribution or dealing with retailers. What we have discovered is that distributors are able to operate on lower margins and understand the channel because they are selling multiple products to retailers”.
A NARTA retailer said “If Hitachi are to be successful in the appliance market they need to expand their range to compete with the likes of LG, Panasonic and Samsung. They have some excellent premium products but these are not available in Australia”.
When Hitachi approached local Hitachi management Jason Ho said that his role was to support Tempo. He refused to comment on any moves to go direct.
Tempo have also refused to comment.
Earlier this week Sharp took exception to our claims that Sharp Corporation Australia, were facing a bleak future after Foxconn bought the ailing Company.
They apparently did not like the reference in our prior Sharp management story that 12 of 13 Sharp directors along with hundreds of staff were set to be axed, following the sale of the Company to Foxconn Technology Group.
They also did not like the reference to the fact that we reported that Foxconn boss, Terry Gou had described current management and the way that the Company has been operated as “inefficient”.
Shortly after ChannelNews got a legal letter sanctioned by Joe Constantino the Deputy Managing Director of Sharp Corporation Australia that was sent out as an email to staff and retailers concerning our story.
Within an hour ChannelNews had received a copy of the email.
Several former Sharp staff who were axed by Constantino have contacted ChannelNews to say that Sharp Australia have for years failed to invest in their brand or their products which in the past have been described as “among the best there is out there”.
“Current management at Sharp have destroyed what was once a great appliance and TV brand. You only have to look at how well Sharp is doing in the USA and other markets to realise how well Sharp could have done in Australia with effective management and investment in the brand” said a former senior executive.
ChannelNews refused to remove thestory.