Hardy’s Retravision in Pakenham, Victoria, has taken out the chain’s ‘best store’ award, beating over 400 other stores for the honour, as was reported on www.current.com.au

Awarded by new Retravision chief executive Tim Cockayne, the award was “a great reward” for the team, said manager Dan O’Loughlin.

“It’s a great reward, mainly for the team here, for the effort that they’ve put in over the last eight or nine months in the new team formation.”

The new formation comes from the store’s move last October to go from being a combined Mitre 10 and Retravision to being a pure electrical retailer – a change that gave the store an extra 1000 square metres (up from 400) and combined the two stores’ staff.

“Eighteen months earlier we opened up one of the Mitre 10 mega stores in town, and one the back of its success, it was just a natural progression, we thought, to do the same thing with our Retravision, and it was born from there,” he said.

“It [the staff integration] was something a bit different but worked in our advantage, because they had that Hardy’s customer service instilled into them. It was just a matter of learning them up a little bit with electrical, and they were more than willing to do that, and it’s paid off for us.”

The extra space also opened up new layout possibilities, with “a fair bit” of racking, which O’Loughlin described as “a bit unique”. The store also kept their homewares and cooking range.

“We still sell the frypans, the dishes, all that type of thing,” he said, mentioning they also sold barbeques and outdoor furniture.

The award, while heavily weighted towards sales growth, also took into account compliance with the group’s internal identification, store presentation, customer service and coherence to the Retravision code of conduct.

O’Loughlin also reported that despite the recent flat panel sales slump, they had avoided any problems, recording continuous growth since their re-opening, and remained strong in whitegoods.

“We’re very strong in our whitegoods department, but the plasma/LCD market is fast catching it. Gone are the days of the games rooms being built in the homes. They’re all putting in those home theatre rooms now … which lends itself towards to plasma/LCD market, and affordability.

“We’d like to thank our customers as well as our staff for making the Hardy’s experience what it is, and hopefully we can continue to give that customer service at the highest level for years to come. We’ve been here 52 years and we hope to be here the same again.”