New Consoles Helped JB Hi-Fi Return To Sales Growth

It's no secret that the retail industry, as a whole has been struggling. Since May in particular, JB Hi-Fi — one of Australia's biggest and most successful retail businesses — has faced a number of difficulties. But according to its new CEO, they've turned things around in the last quarter. Why?

Apparently video games were a big help.

More specifically, sales of new consoles like the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4.

According to Richard Murray, JB Hi-Fi's new CEO, increased stock of both consoles has been a massive driver. September and October, apparently, signalled a return to growth for the retailer, which makes sense considering the influx of new games in the lead in to Christmas.

A "market-wide decline" in tablet sales was apparently part of the widespread retail issues that caused JB Hi-Fi to struggle between May and August.


    Problem solved forever. =P

    Seriously though this makes me worry for friends who have built careers in retail. JB Hi-Fi aren't doing anything particularly wrong and yet they're slowly going down. This boost seems helpful but it's one I've seen in failing companies plenty of times. It's that phase where the business keeps getting it's arse pulled out of the fire only to end up back in there more and more often.
    There's plenty of things I could point to and say 'maybe try this instead' but the shift seems inevitable and that's going to leave a lot of people in a bad place.

      Pfft, how do you think I feel? The owner thinks what worked 30 years ago would be fine today.

        And pay their staff shit

          If you're in sales and can actually do your job, the pay is definitely not "shit"

      I'm unsympathetic to most of the retail industry because of the Australia tax.

        I'm unsympathetic towards the corperate structures. JB Hi-Fi and the like, in their current form, need to go down in the name of progress, but the people working there? I feel pretty bad for them. Retail may seem like a bit of a joke but there's a proper career there that a lot of employees have invested themselves in.

          Progress to what? Genuinely curious.

            Towards better, more modern distribution services. The current retail distribution systems are mostly designed to exist in a world without internet* and as a result they end up fighting against internet based services in order to maintain their current market shares. A huge chunk of that fight involves forcing consumers into using their service.
            It presents itself in many forms but with games the most easily identifiable form is retail exclusive content. Obviously a big chunk of the blame for that belongs to publishers who are so willing to sell their users to specific retail stores for the right price, but it gets worse as retail stores become more desperate and publishers become more comfortable with the arrangement.

            *I know a lot of stores like JB and EB have online outlets, which is great, but even with those they tend to try and push the old rules of retail on users.

            Last edited 29/10/14 5:48 pm

              I won't go into huge detail but the workforce across the world as a whole will shift away from labour based and basic retail work as machines and robotics (inc self driving trucks, taxis, self checkouts, online shopping etc) become the norm. We are as a species 200% more productive per person than a couple of decades ago which is not sustainable. So we will for the same money work less days (overseas some places have moved to the 4 day work week) which still works cause we still have the same amount of productivity BUT we will all do this in higher level positions not packing shelves etc.

              Unfortunately, the transition will suck but it will inevitably happen.

            Agree. Just to watch the workd burn because you disagree is not a sound arguement. Occupy movement and their anti capitalism/ corporation has never made any sense to me. The alternative has proven not to work yet the communist countries of past were pretty cruel and bad placed to live. Not to mention most occupy groups ise iphones and facebook.

              That's not even close to my argument. I'm not saying we need government intervention. I'm not saying we need to protest anything. I'm just saying that I dislike the fact their previous success has given them a level of power/influence in the industry that allows them to slow progress. The sooner they stop trying to prevent progress, by either running out of money or re-evaluting their methods, the better.

              Although at the risk of getting too off topic I will admit that I find comparing capitalism to communism dumb. The failure of communism is only relevant to capitalism when talking about the cold war or when talking about dangers a capitalist system could fall victim to. Capitalism is still largely untested and while it's probably the best solution we've come up with it's proven several times to be a less than perfect.

              Last edited 29/10/14 9:21 pm

        My brother used to work in a warehouse that distributed to numerous local stores, and he got things at cost price (ie, before the warehouse markup, and before the store markup), and even then, he could get things delivered from an overseas retailer for less.

        So I'm somewhat sympathetic, because I know that a lot of it is local retailers getting screwed over by overseas exporters.

      My dad is a retail manager, and he noticed that the retail district is taking a toll because Tony Abbot.
      He scares us about Australias money problem, which we dont have.
      Now he wants to rise Gst , fuel and overall prices on everything.

      What retail is going through is simply a backlash. People are scared to spend money cause of this Government giving us a very, very insacure future under their budget and policies.

      even the biggest shopping centres in Australia arent as busy as they were before Tony came into office.

        Yes and the side effect of GST etc going up is less disposable income being used for most things so people will get less work, treasurey will make less money cause people will have less to spend as it settles and the economy will slow heaps cause it has stalled in a deadlock.

        Unfortuantly people are idiots and will vote him back in cause Labour wrecked all this mythical things, scare campaign blah blah.
        Fun fact, the libs took labours 10 billion a year deficit and turned it into 30+ billion. So much for them fixing it.

          Tony wont be voted back in.
          I dont know a single person who supports him. He is trying to turn this country into america and australian highly detest that idea.
          So next election, people will vote for Labour or another party, cause Australians cant afford Tony abbots campaign to help the rich get richer and the middle class and under struggle.
          But your spot on, under Tony Abbot, Australias growth in economy will stall.

        Most first world government is about money making propaganda and control mechanisms to keep the populous as a whole fed and in line to support the actual 1% in control behind public eye. Abbot is yet another easily forgotten pawn in their mission. Australians have life a hell of a lot easier than many others in the world, yet we tend to whinge so often about the control mechanisms in place. As unfortunate as it is, I'll bet most would rather the "control, taxes , GST etc" over fighting for your next meal or place to stay. Sure, I'd love to live in a world without the control mechanisms in place. It would be amazing if it were that easy! It wont happen until you turn off your TV, turn off your computer, turn off your radio and start to think for yourself rather than what is implanted in your mind through mass media and advertising/mad hysteria. It wont happen until everyone does this. FYI, it's "insecure"

        Last edited 07/12/14 9:07 pm

      in 15 years time I can change my joke about giving a Brashes Gift Voucher for Xmas to JB Hi Fi Gift Voucher and still get good laughs. always a silver lining.

      Maybe they should stop randomly staying open until 9pm with little to no advertising about it?
      I've been in there a few times during those sales (after much searching to figure out if they're actually open late), and it's always dead; 10 times as many staff as customers.

    I do believe we keep saying it, but they aren't doing well because we don't see 'competitive prices' as $20 more expensive than if we just bought items off Amazon ourselves and wait for it to be shipped form the States. If I can get it for $20 (+-) less, they should be able to do better no?

    Honestly, I don't know if I care that they are struggling at this point. (Piracy is another issue entirely IMHO, but I feel pricing is partly to blame there too)

      See I don't think they are that unreasonably priced. To many people, where a game is an impulse buy, spending an extra $20 might be an acceptable trade off for receiving the game NOW. We're not all that patient to wait a couple of weeks for an online order. More power to you though for having that mindset.

      People comlain about JB's prices when Eb constantly sell their new release games for $90+?!?

      I work at JB and when I have bought games for cost price it has NEVER been $20 less than a customers price. Maybe save $15 tops. Company does the best it can with the ridiculous price we have to purchase games for.

    They won't have my money next gen, not after i got my pre-ordered WiiU 3 weeks late.
    I'l stick to ozgameshop :)

      I'm not sure whether that's a joke or not, but in my experience, ozgameshop have been shockingly slow with preorders.

        Prices have gotten worse after the change of management as well.

        I'm not joking.
        Ozgameshop are(?) doing a "new special postage" thingo. When i pre-ordered watch_dogs offered it as a option and that meant only a few days wait.
        I presume they still do it.

    I think the issue is the media products they sell...

    Remember CD singles? Gone, no one buys them now with the introduction of iTunes and other music services.

    CDs in general? Selling really poorly, again because of online music services.

    DVDs? Arguably doing well because they are so cheap these days, but still not selling like they used to with the popularity of pirating and movie streaming services.

    BLURAYs? Never took off like DVDs did - I have a friend in Canada who is amazed we buy them at all but then he's blessed with high internet speeds and reasonably priced streaming services. Good for collections though I guess.

    Games? Well, as many have said you can buy them cheaper online, and more and more people are using digital distribution services like Steam - I know I haven't looked back after using Steam.

    Consoles are only going to keep them afloat until the PS4 and XBONE reach a saturation point. Maybe they do well from TVs, home theater systems and computers? I don't know, but those aren't frequent purchases for many people.

    I don't think they're doing anything wrong with their retail business (I even think their games are mostly reasonably priced) but I think the products they mostly sell are becoming less and less relevant in retail.

    Last edited 29/10/14 3:48 pm

      dont forget that once PS4 and XB1 reach saturation the new versions of both will come into play and the cycle starts over.....until it ends and we are all part of the cloud and then boom next thing you know is we are in the matrix. i skipped a few steps but u know what im saying.

      Blu Ray DVDs are doing really great.
      I got a mate who works at JB and Blu Ray sells heaps.
      Whenever im in JB I dont see people looking at DVD movies anymore, mostly everyone in the DVD section is looking at Blu Ray movies.

      my family only get Blu Ray movies now, most my mates. It did catch on, and now, when a little cheaper, is going to take over the DVD format.

      When sony released the DVD/Disc, it took a while to catch on, cause of its price and it takes a while to catch on.
      Same thing will happen here.

      I don't think they're doing anything wrong with their retail business (I even think their games are mostly reasonably priced) but I think the products they mostly sell are becoming less and less relevant in retail.

      Yeah. I could point out all my issues with them but it doesn't really amount to anything that would make what they're selling much more appealing. For instance I think the opening price of Blu-Rays sort of stunted growth there, so I could say 'well, make it so they're cheap, that's why I used to buy $100 worth of movies at a time without really thinking about it' but ultimately $5 movies on Blu-Ray wouldn't bring me back.
      There's just so much more competing for my entertainment hours now. There was a point where they had all the entertainment needs covered, but now things are here like streams of non-TV/movie content, browsing on a tablet, instagram, etc. They're not quite replacing the standards JB deal in but they're reducing the need for the standards and they're not something JB are able to get involved with.

      Even with the conveniences offered by Steam, there's still often a Better Way. Take Civilization: Beyond Earth. $90 inc-Australia Tax on Steam. $55 on (less with discount coupons).

      The kicker? That's the version that gives you a Steam key. So it's functionally the same as buying it on Steam, only you have to wait like... 24-48hrs for the key to turn up. Play in Steam, same achievements, all the rest...

        Same with Far Cry 4; you can preorder for just $50 but there's that bearable wait for another day or so. You can even opt to get the physical and digital for a similar price. I wonder if theyre two different copies completely...

          hell its not just ozgameshop, theres the CD Key sights that can give you the same price or less than OGS and and still get the key for the game goes o up for preload. thats the big killer for electronic retail stores like EB and JB HiFi, cheaper and quicker to get.

      As the Video Rental Stores died out JB increased prices of DVDs driving me away from them. I will still buy my various boxsets from them but I'm no longer seeing awesome deals with most movies being $30 on DVD and $40 on Blu-Ray.

    Hope that translates to:

    "We are going to put more bundles together and sell them cheap"

    so what they are saying is they are finally making money for this brief period of time where new consoles are selling like hot cakes and we hope to make money like this again in around 10-12 years.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now