Harvey Norman 'Tech Brand' To Launch 2014?

Written by Oonagh Reidy     22/01/2014 | 12:24 | Category: INDUSTRY

Dick Smith has done it, but now it looks like another major retailer is about jump on the own-brand bandwagon, too.

Harvey Norman
Mass electronics retailer Harvey Norman is secretly developing its own branded electronics range, CN has been told. 

The retailer is said to be working with at least one major distributor, which is Australian-based, on the project. No other details are available but it is believed the Harvey Norman label could be launched later this year, sold at its franchisees. 

It is not clear what the 'Harvey Norman' own brand range could include, but could potentially be anything from audio, accessories and speakers to TV's. The retailer was not available for comment at the time of writing. 

If the rumor is true, it may be on the right track. 

Rival Dick Smith has long championed its DSE and Tandy house brands, and only recently CEO Nick Abouud pledged to increase own-brand sales to 15%, and boost margins.

DSE and Tandy sell everything from own branded USBs, cables to budget TVs, antennas and security cameras. 

Dick Smith has even set up a direct sourcing team in Hong Kong to further expand its private label product range and the "possible creation of a portfolio of additional private label brands", according to a recent company prospectus. 

"There are clear margin benefits to developing an in house brand", says Sam Yip, Telsyte analyst. 

Companies with their own brands are seen as innovators, not just able to sell but also create products. 

"A generic brand is generally lower cost and gives the retailer more contact with the consumer. 

"Its one other way to keep the consumer connected to the brand."  

In relation to the consumer electronics industry, generic brand accessories, in particular, are "low maintenance and low risk" but once a generic brand starts competing with big brands this can be tougher.

"Pricing needs to be quite competitive," he warns, something which Harvey Norman has sadly lacked in the past. But this could be about to change.