NZ in sights of Aussie online retailer Kogan

TOM PULLAR-STRECKER
Last updated 05:00 26/03/2014

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Australian online retailer Kogan will begin shipping to New Zealanders today, saying it will shake up the retail market by undercutting rivals by 30 to 40 per cent.

Kogan is owned by 31-year-old Australian young-rich-lister Ruslan Kogan and turned over about A$300 million (NZ$320.5m) in Australia and Britain last year.

It specialises in selling its own-branded electronics and consumer goods, such as televisions and home and kitchen appliances, which it has manufactured under contract in Asia. But it also supplies branded goods which it sources globally from distributors through a daily tendering process and then parallel imports.

Ruslan Kogan said an example of its price leadership was its own-branded 55-inch "4K" television, which it sold in Australia for A$999 (NZ$1067), a price "no-one had come close to".

The cheapest 4K television on sale in New Zealand yesterday was an LG model with a price tag of $4799 at Noel Leeming.

Tom Godfrey, a spokesman for Australian consumer association Choice, said Kogan produced and sold products at a comparatively low price, but in Choice's testing "had never made the recommended product list".

"Kogan also imports many other brands such as Nikon and Apple. These products are often competitively priced; however, do ensure you check the warranty, and expect a slightly longer shipping times," he advised.

Ruslan Kogan grew up in a state-owned flat in the Melbourne suburb of Elsternwick after his family migrated to Australia from Belarus when he was aged 5. His self-made fortune was estimated at A$315m (NZ$336m) last year.

Australian Communications Consumer Action Network spokesman Mark Callender noted Kogan was criticised last week after disconnecting customers for sending too many texts or making too many calls on mobile phone plans that it had marketed as "unlimited", although the company promised to resolve the issues.

Ruslan Kogan said he decided to start selling to New Zealanders because a significant number of Kiwis were ordering goods from Kogan's Australian site for local delivery and then having them shipped to New Zealand by friends and family in Australia.

Kogan will supply smaller items, particularly those under the $400 threshold under which consumers can import items free of GST, direct from Australia. But it will stock larger items such as televisions at a warehouse operated by a third party in Auckland, he said.

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- BusinessDay

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