LAUNCESTON'S audio- visual and computer market is fiercely competitive
One of the city's oldest companies, Wills, was squeezed out of the market this year, ending its 105-year-old relationship selling electrical items to the Launceston public in favour of a focus on telecommunication devices.
The audio-visual fight for the local dollar might soon intensify too if national retailers Good Guys and JB HiFi act on their interest in opening stores in Launceston.
Former Wills store manager Frank Tedeschi said Wills exited before it signed on to another five years at its Kingsway location because of unsustainable low margins and price pressure from multinational retailers and the more elusive traders on the internet.
He said these factors, with market saturation of particular products, had caused audio-visual product prices to drop nationally.
"In the audio-visual game, as an industry we did not lose sales to the internet but we had to bring our prices down to counteract internet pricing," Mr Tedeschi said.
"Accordingly, we have seen long-standing retailers Australia-wide in our product group say `Hey, it's all a bit too hard'.
"In order to get the biggest part of the pie, as an industry, retailers would bring prices down when a hot product hit the market.
"It wasn't unusual to sell flat panel screens and laptops at cost, for example, and to make money by tacking on accessories where possible."
Mr Tedeschi said traditional retailers needed range, atmosphere, consistent good service, suitable opening hours and on-par pricing to compete with internet sellers.
It was important that consumers understood that keeping money local meant the community benefited through group sponsorship, donations and employment.
"If it stays within the town, then everybody benefits," he said.
Mr Tedeschi said telecommunications was an area where people were happy to spend and regularly upgrade mobile devices with bricks-and- mortar stores.