Tech Industry

Another big guy gone as JB Hi-Fi buys The Good Guys

It's official. JB came in and bought the good, good, good, guys. But after the song and dance, where does it leave Australians?

JB Hi-Fi has announced it is buying out The Good Guys, bringing to an end more than six decades of ownership under the one family, and uniting two Australian giants of tech and appliance retail.

JB will pay a tidy AU$870 million for the retail chain, which includes 101 shopfronts across Australia, but you won't see yellow and black livery splashed across those stores any time soon. The Good Guys CEO is staying on board and JB Hi-Fi says the two chains will continue to "maintain independent go-to-market strategies."

In short, they want to keep customers walking through the doors for whitegoods at The Good Guys and for box sets of "Frasier" at JB.

But even if the sign out the front stays the same, the buyout will mark a major shift in the Australian retail landscape.

Last year saw the shuttering of Dick Smith after close to 60 years, and retro giants like Retravision, Tandy, and Strathfield are now just a distant memory. Hell, there's nothing left of Brashs other than a weird ghost in the machine on Twitter, spewing out memes like some sort of retro-futuristic pop culture bot.

As online shopping and cheap and cheerful grey imports from China grew, and margins on electronics, DVDs and accessories declined, JB Hi-Fi diversified by getting into the appliance game, launching JB Hi-Fi Home in 2012. Now, it's pushing further into the kitchen and laundry by buying The Good Guys.

But one person's business "synergies" and streamlining of operations between JB and The Good Guys is another person's reduction in competition. While the competition watchdog might have said that the two retailers have different customer bases, it still means one less player in the market, one less retailer working hard to win its competitors' customers and, potentially, one less store trying to beat the others on price.

JB might not be your go-to destination for a fridge, and the Good Guys might be a while off stocking CDs, but they have plenty in common. Will we see both chains get in lockstep when it comes to the ranges of TVs they stock or the price tags they put on laptops? Will product lines start disappearing? Will customers lose out?

Those are probably questions for a few years down the track, when the kinks have been worked out of the JB-GG alliance.

But one thing's for sure. It's one less player in a market where customers are already concerned about a lack of competition and the ever-present Australia tax. In shopping centres around Australia, there are fewer guys selling the goods.

JB Hi-Fi and The Good Guys did not immediately respond to request for comment.