WA company Kitchen Warehouse is defying the retail malaise and expanding nationwide.
Last year, the company opened two stores in Victoria and one in Queensland, which chief executive Peter Macaulay said were so successful they would be joined by another three before the end of the year — two more big format stores in Brisbane and one in Melbourne.
“We are very happy with the performance of our first three stores on the east coast,” Mr Macaulay said.
“We will continue to grow our store base over the next five years. The challenge has been commencing that expansion at the same time as the WA economy took a dive.”
News of the expansion comes as the industry reels from the collapse this month of Kambos, run by Kamb Investments which also manages the upmarket Liebe + Haus.
On Friday, Winning Appliances said it was taking over the Liebe + Haus lease at 19 Hutton Street, Osborne Park, for a new commercial showroom and head office.
The company plans to move in next month and has said it will honour deposits made on appliances by customers of Kambos and Liebe + Haus.
Mr Macaulay, who runs Kitchen Warehouse with his sister Justine Murphy and brother-in-law Christopher Murphy, said the company’s success was built on a big product range, good prices and knowledgeable service.
His parents John and Marilyn started the company 20 years ago. They had a background in discount shops and saw possibilities for a big-format kitchen specialist just as the foodie phenomenon was taking off.
The continuing appetite for cooking and entertainment has fed the company’s expansion and Mr Macaulay merged his online company Kitchenware Direct with Kitchen Warehouse in 2016.
All shops have a functioning kitchen and customers can attend workshops and product demonstrations. “Having a product on the shelf is not enough. People want ideas and inspiration,” Mr Macaulay said.
In August, the company will feature a homegrown theme covering everything from fruit and vegetables to sausages, mead and fermented foods. It is looking at opportunities in vertical integration and own-brand products.
“We want to directly source as good or better products from manufacturers to deliver at an even better price,” Mr Macaulay said.
Susan de Ruyter | The West Australian