Australian home entertainment retailer JB Hi-Fi is on course to open its first New Zealand store in the first half of 2007.

Australian home entertainment retailer JB Hi-Fi is on course to open its first New Zealand store in the first half of 2007.

The chain, which specializes in music and DVD plus related hardware products, currently operates just under 70 stores in Australia, with another eight set to open by Christmas.

However, CEO Richard Uechtritz says New Zealand remains a key market. "We think we will be opening our first JB Hi-Fi store in New Zealand around March or April next year and are looking to open four or five outlets in the first year," he says.

The New Zealand music retail market is dominated by mass merchant the Warehouse and specialty store Sounds. However, Uechtritz believes there is room in the market for the chain's low cost business model, which combines highly competitive pricing with range and depth across music and DVD. He did not rule out an acquisition of an existing New Zealand retailer.

In its most recent financial results issued in August, JB Hi-fi announced a record net profit of A$25.8 million ($19.7 million) for the year ending June 30.