We note with no surprise that the Electrical Appliance chain of Clive Peeters has called in the Receivers this week with debts approaching 150 million dollars. LG Australia (who apparently made a $13,000 profit on a turnover of nearly $1 Billion) are said to be owed $25m, employees are likely to lose their entitlements, and customers are likely to lose their deposits.

An insider at the appointed Administrators tells us that it was all Silver Service in the meeting room as they prepared for their feeding frenzy on the company's carcass.
The CEO of Clive Peeters Greg Smith is well known within the industry, having previously run the Vox retail group comprising Billy Guyatts and Chandlers that had also apparently suffered an expensive corporate failure in the eighties.

At the beginning of the GFC in 2008 Mr Smith is on record as soothsaying that the failures in the CE business would be in the SME sector rather than in their 1300 employee operation. I take tangible umbridge at these comments and the efficiency myth of the large business that they perpetrate. The reality is that Clive Peeters was dependant on supplier credit and rebates to the extent that they had no real equity left in their own business and their price competitiveness was removed when their ability to negotiate with suppliers was degraded as their financial health declined.

In the last couple of months there has been a terrific price war on the new Sharp LED TV sets started by Clive Peeters and met on the field of consumer combat by JB HiFi that has been asymptomatic of their parlous position in the market place. Normally when there is a new product with demanded and quality technicals and limited in supply there would be a period that they would hold price in the marketplace. Examples being the Mazda MX3 and Triumph T595 that were being resold over retail price after the initial introduction.

This was not to be the case with the new Sharp Aquos LED Array LCD TV's as Clive Peeters ordered the majority of the shipment and then proceeded to loss leader advertise them presumably as part of a store wide policy to generate cash flow.(Alas Sharp Australia will probabaly not get paid for that stock ...). JB Hi Fi, ever responsive to price competition immediately matched or beat the Clive Peeters Go Prices.

Sadly there was actually very little stock available of the LED array product for consumers to actually purchase and one suspects there would have been a fair swag of bait and switch tactics to alternative product that was able to offer those retailers margin and stock availability. It is not uncommon for the commissioned sales staff in bulk stores to be told to sell the advertised special only as a last resort, the purpose of the ad being to bring the punter to the store rather than to actually purvey the product as portrayed.

Specialist stores such as ourselves are of course not immune to the pressures of competition and finance, however we possess a great degree of organisational flexibility that allows us to ride the ebb and flow of the marketplace. We are not subject to the demands of a centralised buying department that dictates the product purveyance policies to match the current stock buy practice.

My fundamental message is to you the consumer is that the risk that you undertake in doing business with us is much reduced in comparison to that with a bulk store or internet reseller.