Leading Australian home entertainment chain JB Hi-Fi has opened its first New Zealand outlet and says it is already reporting good sales.

The first JB Hi-Fi store is located on central Auckland's main shopping thoroughfare, Queen Street, and stocks more than 50,000 DVDs, CDs and games, together with portable, camera and gaming hardware devices.

The store opened without fanfare at the beginning of May but it was only last week (May 17) that JB Hi-Fi began to aggressively market its presence in New Zealand.

The publicly-listed Australian group does not reveal detailed trading figures, but Keegan Smith-Frowd, regional manager for New Zealand, did say that the Auckland store has already racked up "thousands and thousands" of transactions.

"Even without marketing, the store has been doing exceptionally well and the feedback we have been getting has been terrific," he says. "All parts of the business have been doing well, but both CD and DVD have been particularly strong."

JB Hi-Fi intends to have four to five stores operating in New Zealand by the end of Christmas but declines to go into details about its store opening program.

However, Smith-Frowd says future New Zealand outlets will be JB "superstores," carrying a full range of software as well home electronics such computers, lap-tops and Plasma TVs; the first Auckland store is more akin to JB Hi-Fi's software-focused central city stores in the likes of Sydney and Melbourne.
As well as its own stores, in March JB Hi-Fi completed the acquisition of the 11-store New Zealand electrical hardware chain Hill & Stewart, although the two brands will retain their separate identity.

In its most recent financials to the Australian Stock Exchange in February, JB Hi-Fi announced a net profit of $A26.2 million ($21.5 million) for the six months ending Dec. 31, 2006. By the end of its current financial year in June, the group expects to have around 80 Australian JB Hi-Fi stores.

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