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Sony, Fitbit & Apple In, Viano TV’s Out At Big W As They Look For Brand Growth

Sony, Apple, Fitbit, Garmin and Logitech are just a few of the brands Big W has invested in to drive a resurgence in consumer electronics at the discount retailer.

The reshaping of the consumer electronics category at Big W has also seen a realignment of brands with Polaroid Sony, and JVC replacing traditional Big W TV brand Viano in the TV category.

This week the Woolworths owned retailer rolled out a 100 page + ‘Toy Sale’ Catalogue which is one of the biggest ever as they take on the Wesfarmers owned K Mart and Target.

The move to expand in the CE market has also benefited local distributors with Woolworths ranging over 90 SKU’s from Laser Corporation as well Motorola headphones from Powermove.

Suppliers claim that the person responsible for the expansion of BIG W’s CE business is Taran Singh. He is is “bringing new life” back into the category with brands such as Philips, JVC, LG and Sony” a supplier said.

 

Noticeable at several stores is the expansion of the wearable category with Fitbit and Apple who have invested in Isle end merchandisers featuring prominently for the Apple Watch which is heavily discounted at Big W.

At one stage Apple was the biggest seller in Australia of Apple iPods and tablets.

Also popular at the mass retailer are gaming consoles with Playstation, Xbox and Nintendo consoles and their accessories featuring heavily in the expanded ranging.

Currently wearables are facing a resurgence with Big W, JB Hi Fi and Harvey Norman taking advantage of a fresh surge in demand for products in this category, at BIG W the Company is offering a Fitbit Watch for as low as $229, other watches are as cheap as $59.

According to researchers the wearable device market looks set to grow almost 26 percent this year with worldwide shipment of wearable devices reaching 225 million.

That’s according to a new forecast from research firm Gartner, which predicts that of the estimated $42 billion that end users will spend on wearable devices next year, a little more than $16 billion of that amount will be on smartwatches.

Smartwatch dominance of the wearables market, however, will apparently be short-lived.

According to Gartner, there will be 74 million smartwatches shipped next year, which makes the device far and away the market’s segment leader. But Gartner expects a slow transition over the years after that until 2022, when ear-worn devices take over.

This year, the firm is forecasting 158 million so-called “hearables” to be shipped compared to 115 million smartwatches.

The Bi W Toy Sale which kicked off last week is driving consumers into the Woolworths owned stores with management claiming that customers were prepping 6-months ahead of Christmas for their gifts as they lined up before midnight ready for the sale to commence last Thursday.

Photos and videos began to emerge across social media showing parents plunge over each other to catch the ultimate bargain. Some even described the chaos as “a total sh*t show”.

“Staff were lovely… were even running around getting toys for people. Some of the customers on the other hand need to learn how to respect others,” a person posted in a Big W fan page on Facebook.

The move to reshape the consumer electronics and appliances division with more known brands than house brands is part of a turnaround strategy claims management, with HY19 comparable sales growth notching 3.8%. Whilst sales have “stabilised”, gross margin slipped 58bps year-on-year to 31.8%.

Group Chief Executive, Brad Banducci, asserts Big W costs are now “well controlled”, with its $8 million [pre-tax] half-year loss a “marginal improvement” versus the previous year.

Representing a 20.8% change, it follows a half-year loss of $10 million in HY18.

Driven by increased sales momentum, comparable sales growth in the second quarter notched 5%.

The “pleasing” improvement is derived from online sales, and lower margin categories such as toys and leisure.

FY19 losses are forecast to be lower than FY18, however, remain subject to market conditions.

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