Dick Smith (retailer)
Dick Smith Holdings Limited was an Australian chain of retail stores that sold consumer electronics goods, hobbyist electronic components, electronic project kits. The chain expanded into New Zealand and unsuccessfully into several other countries; the company was founded in Sydney in 1968 by Dick Smith and owned by him and his wife until they sold 60% to Woolworths Limited in 1980, the remaining 40% two years later. The company closed within several years of its acquisition by Anchorage Capital Partners; the business started in 1968 in a small $15-rent-per-week premises in a car park in the Sydney suburb of Neutral Bay with a total capital of only AU$610. The business focused on installing and servicing car radios. In 1969, the business's success required it to move to bigger premises, first Atkinson Street, St Leonards Carlotta Street, Artarmon with flagship store nearby, on the Pacific Highway, Gore Hill; when the entire electronics business landscape was remodelled by the Whitlam government's across-the-board 25% tariff cut in 1973, for the loss of 138,000 manufacturing jobs, Smith moved with the market and met the competition with a re-emphasis on imported electronic components and finished products.
Alongside the car radio business, he opened "Dick Smith Wholesale". The business catered to electronics hobbyists. In those days, hobbyists could buy components only from larger wholesale companies better set up for dealing with commercial customers. After touring overseas electronic stores to study modern merchandising methods, Smith introduced self-serve shopping, a breakaway from the longstanding counter-sales setup found in component sales at the time, produced an annual mail-order catalogue with a substantial data section; the company promoted itself with Smith's own publicity stunts. For example, Smith claimed that he would tow an iceberg from Antarctica to Sydney Harbour, cut it up into small bits and sell it for 10 cents a cube. On the morning of 1 April 1978, it appeared as if he had succeeded as hundreds of phone calls reporting the iceberg began flooding into local newspapers and radio and television stations, most of which were from Dick Smith employees; the "iceberg" turned out to be a barge cloaked in white plastic sheeting and topped with firefighting foam, an April Fool's joke.
The company profited from the CB radio boom of the 1970s and by the end of the decade had stores in all mainland states. Though many CB radio stores closed when interest waned at the end of the 70s, Dick Smith Electronics thrived on exploding PC sales and its established electronic components and kit lines. To ensure every electronic enthusiast in Australia had one of his catalogues, it was included free in the popular electronics magazines Electronics Australia and Electronics Today International; the catalogues included ever-increasing amounts of data on electronic components, which helped make it an essential reference for anyone involved in electronics professionally or as a hobby. Private-branding was introduced on a large range of products from the late-70s. Many DSE-brand products were re-branded versions of the same or similar products sold in parallel by their manufacturers. Dick Smith Electronics own-brand System 80 computer, a clone of the Tandy TRS-80 Model I, led a successful line, including the Dick Smith Cat, the VZ-200 and VZ-300.
The company sold brand name personal computers such as the Commodore VIC-20 and Commodore 64. In 1981, the Super-80 kit computer was developed as a joint venture between the company and Electronics Australia magazine; the company expanded its product range during the 1970s and 1980s, stocked items such as the Heathkit electronic kits, satellite TV receiving stations, Beeple pagers and the Dick Smith Wizzard computer game. The company was an early seller of telephone equipment including answering machines and novelty phones. In 1980, the company had grown to 20 stores and the founder and his wife sold 60% of the company's shares to large general retailer Woolworths Limited; the Smiths sold the balance of the company's capital to Woolworths in 1982, the total transfer price coming to A$25million. The company continued to add to its network of small "main street" stores in suburbs and regional cities across Australia; the late 1990s saw the company establish "Dick Smith Powerhouse" super-stores across the east coast of Australia.
The first Powerhouse store was opened in Bankstown, New South Wales in 1996. These were several times bigger than regular stores at 2,000 square metres and contained departments for the main product categories and supermarket-style checkouts; the "Powerhouses", as they were known, carried a wider range of products than the smaller DSE stores in the computing, audio-visual and amateur radio areas, introduced Music to the range. Some installation services were introduced as well as Computer repairs and upgrading. In 2002 and 2003, the Powerhouse concept changed to focus on a broader consumer market and less towards electronics enthusiasts. Component ranges shrank and general electronics books ceased to be stocked; the Yaesu amateur radio dealership was relinquished. Electronic kits were transferred to the smaller DSE stores and were replaced by the short-lived appearance of small appliances such as kettles, coffee makers and frypans. A home installation service known as "PowerSquad" to install major items such as TVs and computer systems or to provide set-up and training on smaller items such as wireless networking and MP3 players was offered.
In late 2007, Powerhouse stores transferred m
Great Southern Group
Great Southern Group was a group of Australian companies, notable as the country's largest agribusiness managed investment scheme business. The company was founded in 1987 and became a public company in 1999, it expanded its MIS business in the 2000s, supported by favourable tax regulations for these types of investments. Most of the Group's business was in plantation forestry to supply woodchips for the pulp and paper industry, but in the 2000s it diversified into high-value timbers, beef cattle, olives and almond production; the company's after-tax profit peaked at A$132 million in 2006, but by 2008 had deteriorated to a A$63 million loss. The Great Southern companies attracted debate and criticism associated with the operation of managed investment schemes and the environmental performance of their Tiwi Islands operation in particular. On 16 May 2009, as a result of worsening economic conditions and regulatory issues, the GSL, GSMAL, GSF and other subsidiaries of GSL entered into voluntary administration.
Ferrier Hodgson was assigned as liquidator of Great Southern Group. The collapse of Great Southern Group, in conjunction with the failure of another high-profile agribusiness company, led to three separate Australian parliamentary committee inquiries into the MIS industry; the Great Southern Group in 2008 formed Australia's largest managed agribusiness investment scheme operation. The company comprised a parent entity, Great Southern Plantations Limited, over forty subsidiaries all wholly owned; those subsidiaries held or operated Great Southern's businesses, including providing management services. At the centre of Great Southern's operations were management investment schemes. MIS schemes are a mechanism by which investors' funds are pooled to invest in a common business enterprise. A "responsible entity" controls the routine administration of the investments. In primary production schemes such as those managed by Great Southern, investors are the growers of products, with an agreement with the company to manage the investment "to plant and maintain the trees until they are harvested at maturity".
Investors in Great Southern purchased lots on land owned or leased by Great Southern. Thus investors owned the plantations. While investors owned individual woodlots and returns were distributed across all investors in individual projects, with growers sharing "the average yield at harvest for the entire Project...rather than the return from their individual woodlot". These were not high rates of return for the length of investment involved; some of the schemes relied upon the rationale that investors would retire and therefore receive income from the scheme when their marginal tax rate was lower than at the time of initial investment. Based on this premise some schemes were claiming a rate of return after tax of eight to nine percent. Others suggested the schemes were a poor investment to achieve only six percent return. Returns to investors comprised a tax deduction in the year in which they bought the products, returns from the sale of produce over the life of the project, at the point of harvest 10–12 years for plantations, "and up to 23 years for horticultural projects such as almonds".
Great Southern would deduct management fees from the final sale value. A typical forestry investment in the early 2000s involved an initial payment of $3000 for one-third of a hectare woodlot, yielding a $2900 tax deduction at that time. Returns on harvesting depended on many variables. Investors received their returns when the product was sold. While the majority of Great Southern's activity was in the sale of managed investment schemes, in 2007 it diversified into funds management through the purchase of Rural Funds Management Ltd, retaining its diversified agricultural assets fund and offering a new share fund and a blended property fund. In addition to retailing MIS products to investors, Great Southern provided loans to investors wanting to borrow to invest. By 2009 its loan book comprised 14,500 loans with an average value of A$50,000; the Great Southern Group began as the company Great Southern, co-founded in 1987 by accountant John Carlton Young, microbiologist Helen Sewell. It began by managing South-east Australian plantations of Pinus radiata, but in 1992 shifted to Eucalytus plantations for woodchip production, dealing in blue gum woodlot investments.
Through the 1990s it developed its plantation business in south western Western Australia including the Great Southern region, leasing woodlots to investors on land owned by Great Southern. A related entity, Templegate Finance Pty Ltd, would lend finance to investors. Young was Great Southern's Executive Chairman when it listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in 1999, co-founder Sewell remained in a full-time role until her retirement in February 2001; when the ASX200, a new stock exchange index comprising the top 200 Australian companies by market capitalisation and liquidity, was instituted in March 2000, Great Southern was one of the stocks included. By 2001, the Group had 66 000 hectares of forestry plantations in New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia, its performanc
A tax is a mandatory financial charge or some other type of levy imposed upon a taxpayer by a governmental organization in order to fund various public expenditures. A failure to pay, along with resistance to taxation, is punishable by law. Taxes may be paid in money or as its labour equivalent. Most countries have a tax system in place to pay for public, common or agreed national needs and government functions; some levy a flat percentage rate of taxation on personal annual income, but most scale taxes based on annual income amounts. Most countries charge a tax both on corporate income and dividends. Countries or subunits also impose wealth taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, value-added taxes, payroll taxes or tarrifs; the legal definition, the economic definition of taxes differ in some ways such as economists do not regard many transfers to governments as taxes. For example, some transfers to the public sector are comparable to prices. Examples include, tuition at public universities, fees for utilities provided by local governments.
Governments obtain resources by "creating" money and coins, through voluntary gifts, by imposing penalties, by borrowing, by confiscating wealth. From the view of economists, a tax is a non-penal, yet compulsory transfer of resources from the private to the public sector, levied on a basis of predetermined criteria and without reference to specific benefit received. In modern taxation systems, governments levy taxes in money; the method of taxation and the government expenditure of taxes raised is highly debated in politics and economics. Tax collection is performed by a government agency such as the Ghana Revenue Authority, Canada Revenue Agency, the Internal Revenue Service in the United States, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs in the United Kingdom or Federal Tax Service in Russia; when taxes are not paid, the state may impose civil penalties or criminal penalties on the non-paying entity or individual. The levying of taxes aims to raise revenue to fund governing or to alter prices in order to affect demand.
States and their functional equivalents throughout history have used money provided by taxation to carry out many functions. Some of these include expenditures on economic infrastructure, scientific research and the arts, public works, data collection and dissemination, public insurance, the operation of government itself. A government's ability to raise taxes is called its fiscal capacity; when expenditures exceed tax revenue, a government accumulates debt. A portion of taxes may be used to service past debts. Governments use taxes to fund welfare and public services; these services can include education systems, pensions for the elderly, unemployment benefits, public transportation. Energy and waste management systems are common public utilities. According to the proponents of the chartalist theory of money creation, taxes are not needed for government revenue, as long as the government in question is able to issue fiat money. According to this view, the purpose of taxation is to maintain the stability of the currency, express public policy regarding the distribution of wealth, subsidizing certain industries or population groups or isolating the costs of certain benefits, such as highways or social security.
Effects can be divided in two fundamental categories: Taxes cause an income effect because they reduce purchasing power to taxpayers. Taxes cause a substitution effect when taxation causes a substitution between taxed goods and untaxed goods. If we consider, for instance, two normal goods, x and y, whose prices are px and py and an individual budget constraint given by the equation xpx + ypy = Y, where Y is the income, the slope of the budget constraint, in a graph where is represented good x on the vertical axis and good y on the horizontal axes, is equal to -py/px; the initial equilibrium is in the point, in which budget constraint and indifference curve are tangent, introducing an ad valorem tax on the y good, the budget constraint's slope becomes equal to -py/px. The new equilibrium is now in the tangent point with a lower indifferent curve; as can be noticed the tax's introduction causes two consequences: It changes the consumers' real income It raises the relative price of y good. The income effect shows the variation of y good quantity given by the change of real income.
The substitution effect shows the variation of y good determined by relative prices' variation. This kind of taxation can be considered distortionary. Another example can be the Introduction of an income lump-sum tax, with a parallel shift downward of the budget constraint, can be produced a higher revenue with the same loss of consumers' utility compared with the property tax case, from another point of view, the same revenue can be produced with a lower utility sacrifice; the lower utility or the lower revenue given by a distortionary tax are called excess pressure. The same result, reached with an income lump-sum tax, can be obtained with these following types of taxes (all of them cause only a budget constraint's shift without causi
Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited referred to as Deloitte, is a multinational professional services network. Deloitte is one of the "Big Four" accounting organizations and the largest professional services network in the world by revenue and number of professionals. Deloitte provides audit, consulting, enterprise risk and financial advisory services with more than 286,200 professionals globally. In FY 2018, the network earned a record $43.2 billion USD in aggregate revenues. As of 2017, Deloitte is the 4th largest owned company in the United States; as of 2015, Deloitte has the highest market share in auditing among the top 500 companies in India. Deloitte has been ranked number one by market share in consulting by Gartner, for the fourth consecutive year, Kennedy Consulting Research and Advisory ranks Deloitte number one in both global consulting and management consulting based on aggregate revenue. In 1845, William Welch Deloitte opened an office in United Kingdom. Deloitte was the first person to be appointed an independent auditor of a public company, namely the Great Western Railway.
He went on to open an office in New York in 1880. In 1890, Deloitte opened a branch office on Wall Street headed by Edward Adams and P. D. Griffiths as branch managers; that was Deloitte's first overseas venture. Other branches were soon opened in Chicago and Buenos Aires. in 1898 P. D. Griffiths became a partner in the London office. In 1896, Charles Waldo Haskins and Elijah Watt Sells formed Sells in New York, it was described as "the first major auditing firm to be established in the country by American rather than British accountants". In 1898, George Touche established an office in London and in 1900, joined John Ballantine Niven in establishing the firm of Touche Niven in the Johnston Building at 30 Broad Street in New York. On 1 March 1933, Colonel Arthur Hazelton Carter, President of the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants and managing partner of Haskins & Sells, testified before the U. S. Senate Committee on Banking and Currency. Carter helped convince Congress. In 1947, Detroit accountant George Bailey president of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, launched his own organization.
The new entity enjoyed such a positive start that in less than a year, the partners merged with Touche Niven and A. R. Smart to form Touche, Bailey & Smart. Headed by Bailey, the organization grew in part by creating a dedicated management consulting function, it forged closer links with organizations established by the co-founder of Touche Niven, George Touche: the Canadian organization Ross and the British organization George A. Touche. In 1960, the firm was renamed Touche, Bailey & Smart, becoming Touche Ross in 1969. In 1968 Nobuzo Tohmatsu formed Tohmatsu Aoki & Co, a firm based in Japan, to become part of the Touche Ross network in 1975. In 1972 Robert Trueblood, Chairman of Touche Ross, led the committee responsible for recommending the establishment of the Financial Accounting Standards Board. In 1952, Deloitte's firm merged with Sells to form Deloitte Haskins & Sells. In 1989, Deloitte Haskins & Sells merged with Touche Ross in the USA to form Touche; the merged firm was led jointly by Edward A. Kangas.
Led by the UK partnership, a smaller number of Deloitte Haskins & Sells member firms rejected the merger with Touche Ross and shortly thereafter merged with Coopers & Lybrand to form Coopers & Lybrand Deloitte. Some member firms of Touche Ross rejected the merger with Deloitte Haskins & Sells and merged with other firms. In UK, Touche Ross merged with Spicer & Oppenheim in 1990. At the time of the US-led mergers to form Deloitte & Touche, the name of the international firm was a problem, because there was no worldwide exclusive access to the names "Deloitte" or "Touche Ross" – key member firms such as Deloitte in the UK and Touche Ross in Australia had not joined the merger; the name DRT International was therefore chosen, referring to Deloitte and Tohmatsu. In 1993, the international firm was renamed Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu. In 1995, the partners of Deloitte & Touche decided to create Touche Consulting Group. In 2000, Deloitte acquired Eclipse to add Internet design-based solutions to its consulting capabilities.
Eclipse was separated into Deloitte Online and Deloitte Digital. In 2002, Arthur Andersen's UK practice, the firm's largest practice outside the US, agreed to merge with Deloitte's UK practice. Andersen's practices in Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Mexico and Canada agreed to merge with Deloitte; the spinoff of Deloitte France's consulting division led to the creation of Ineum Consulting. In 2005, Deloitte acquired Beijing Pan-China CPA to become the largest accountancy firm in China. Just prior to this acquisition Deloitte China had about 3,200 employees; this acquisition was part of a five-year plan to invest $150 million in China. Deloitte has had a presence in China since 1917. In 2007, Deloitte began hiring former employees of the Central Intelligence Agency for their competitive intelligence unit known as Deloitte Intelligence. In 2009, Deloitte purchased the North American public service practice of BearingPoint for $350 million after it filed for bankruptcy protection. Deloitte LLP took over the UK property consultants Drivers Jonas in January 2010.
As of 2013, this business unit was known as Deloitte Real Estate. In 2011, Deloitte acquired DOMANI Sustainability Consulting and ClearCarbon Consulting in orde
Non-governmental organizations, nongovernmental organizations, or nongovernment organizations referred to as NGOs, are non-profit and sometimes international organizations independent of governments and international governmental organizations that are active in humanitarian, health care, public policy, human rights and other areas to effect changes according to their objectives. They are thus a subgroup of all organizations founded by citizens, which include clubs and other associations that provide services and premises only to members. Sometimes the term is used as a synonym of "civil society organization" to refer to any association founded by citizens, but this is not how the term is used in the media or everyday language, as recorded by major dictionaries; the explanation of the term by NGO.org is ambivalent. It first says an NGO is any non-profit, voluntary citizens' group, organized on a local, national or international level, but goes on to restrict the meaning in the sense used by most English speakers and the media: Task-oriented and driven by people with a common interest, NGOs perform a variety of service and humanitarian functions, bring citizen concerns to Governments and monitor policies and encourage political participation through provision of information.
NGOs are funded by donations, but some avoid formal funding altogether and are run by volunteers. NGOs are diverse groups of organizations engaged in a wide range of activities, take different forms in different parts of the world; some may have charitable status, while others may be registered for tax exemption based on recognition of social purposes. Others may be fronts for religious, or other interests. Since the end of World War II, NGOs have had an increasing role in international development in the fields of humanitarian assistance and poverty alleviation; the number of NGOs worldwide is estimated to be 10 million. Russia had about 277,000 NGOs in 2008. India is estimated to have had around 2 million NGOs in 2009, just over one NGO per 600 Indians, many times the number of primary schools and primary health centres in India. China is estimated to have 440,000 registered NGOs. About 1.5 million domestic and foreign NGOs operated in the United States in 2017. The term'NGO' is not always used consistently.
In some countries the term NGO is applied to an organization that in another country would be called an NPO, vice versa. Political parties and trade unions are considered NGOs only in some countries. There are many different classifications of NGO in use; the most common focus is on "orientation" and "level of operation". An NGO's orientation refers to the type of activities; these activities might include human rights, improving health, or development work. An NGO's level of operation indicates the scale at which an organization works, such as local, national, or international; the term "non-governmental organization" was first coined in 1945, when the United Nations was created. The UN, itself an intergovernmental organization, made it possible for certain approved specialized international non-state agencies — i.e. non-governmental organizations — to be awarded observer status at its assemblies and some of its meetings. The term became used more widely. Today, according to the UN, any kind of private organization, independent from government control can be termed an "NGO", provided it is not-for-profit, non-prevention, but not an opposition political party.
One characteristic these diverse organizations share is that their non-profit status means they are not hindered by short-term financial objectives. Accordingly, they are able to devote themselves to issues which occur across longer time horizons, such as climate change, malaria prevention, or a global ban on landmines. Public surveys reveal that NGOs enjoy a high degree of public trust, which can make them a useful - but not always sufficient - proxy for the concerns of society and stakeholders. NGO/GRO types can be understood by their level of how they operate. Charitable orientation involves a top-down effort with little participation or input by beneficiaries, it includes NGOs with activities directed toward meeting the needs of the disadvantaged people groups. Service orientation includes NGOs with activities such as the provision of health, family planning or education services in which the programme is designed by the NGO and people are expected to participate in its implementation and in receiving the service.
Participatory orientation is characterized by self-help projects where local people are involved in the implementation of a project by contributing cash, land, labour etc. In the classical community development project, participation begins with the need definition and continues into the planning and implementation stages. Empowering orientation aims to help poor people develop a clearer understanding of the social and economic factors affecting their lives, to strengthen their awareness of their own potential power to control their lives. There is maximum involvement of the beneficiaries with NGOs acting as facilitators. Community-based organizations arise out of people's own initiatives, they can be responsible for raising the consciousness of the urban poor, helping them to understand their rights in accessing needed services, providing such services. City-wide organizations include organizations such as chambers of commerce and industry, coaliti
International Business Times
The International Business Times is an American online news publication that publishes seven national editions in four languages. The publication, sometimes called IBTimes or IBT, offers news and editorial commentary on business and commerce. IBT is one of the world's largest online news sources, receiving forty million unique visitors each month, its 2013 revenues were around $21 million. IBTimes was launched in 2005, its headquarters are in the Financial District of New York City. Founder Etienne Uzac, a native of France, came up with the idea for the global business news site while a student at the London School of Economics, he found that the strongest business newspapers had a focus on the United States and Europe and planned to provide broader geographic coverage. Uzac recruited Johnathan Davis to join him in the enterprise. In late 2005, Uzac and Davis moved to New York City to launch the site, with Uzac focused on business strategy, while Davis coded the site and wrote the first articles.
In May 2012, the company announced the appointment of Jeffery Rothfeder as editor-in-chief and the promotion of Davis from executive editor to chief content officer. On August 4, 2013, IBT Media announced its purchase of Newsweek and the domain newsweek.com from IAC/InterActiveCorp. The purchase did not include The Daily Beast. Peter S. Goodman executive business editor and global news editor of The Huffington Post, became editor in 2014. IBT Media rebranded as Newsweek Media Group. From March to July 2016, IBT laid off an estimated thirty percent of its editorial staff; this period marked a new era for the company as it expanded into branded content and events with its sister publication Newsweek. At the same time, Dev Pragad, who had started the Europe, the Middle East and Africa business in 2009, was promoted from managing director of Europe to global CEO of Newsweek and IBT; this was followed in January 2017 by the appointment of Alan Press in the "newly-created, strategic role of President".
In September 2018, Newsweek Media Group once again became IBT Media with Newsweek spun off as an independent company. In late 2011, Google moved the outlet's articles down in search results in response to excessive search engine optimization activity. An internal IBT memo advised IBT journalists on how to "re-work a story you've done and re-post it in the hopes that it will chart better via Google... Some people have been just re-posting the exact same story, with a new headline. We're not doing that anymore."Reporting in 2014, Mother Jones claimed that IBT journalists are subject to constant demand to produce clickbait. Of 432 articles published by IBT Japan in a certain time interval, 302 were created by copying sentences from Japanese media and combining them, "collage-style", to create stories that seemed new. Employees told The Guardian in 2014 that at times they seemed to operate more as "content farms" demanding high-volume output than a source of quality journalism. At least two journalists were threatened with firing unless traffic to their articles increased sharply.
In 2016, IBT hired John Crowley, the Wall Street Journal's EMEA digital editor, as its UK editor-in-chief. According to The Guardian, "Crowley said his focus would be on helping the site break exclusives, in-depth storytelling and new forms of digital journalism, he said IBT was putting together a UK business desk and hiring an audience team." Crowley stated, "We are not a wire service or so-called paper of record... but I have a vision of where I want to take a site... we've got to have a USP... make ourselves distinctive in journalistic terms." The standard of content on IBTimes.co.uk has notably improved in recent years with reputable papers such as The Times quoting exclusive content from the publication. Sports and entertainment coverage gets pick up in the British press and on the BBC. In early 2017, International Business Times UK joined a partnership along with the likes of Bloomberg, Channel 4 and the BBC to work together to combat the spread of fake news. In June 2017, Jason Murdock — who covers cybersecurity for the International Business Times UK — won Digital Writer of the year at the Drum Online Media Awards, which according to InPublishing magazine “identify the cleverest and most original purveyors of news and views from around the world.”Media Matters for America, a politically progressive journalism watchdog, labeled an IBT article linking Hillary Clinton's policies to the gun used in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting a "false and sloppy smear", based on a misreading of government documents.
In the Columbia Journalism Review, contributing editor Trudy Lieberman credited IBT's David Sirota's investigative reporting for helping to drive a call for reform in Connecticut health insurance regulation. Early in its history, IBT Media employed immigrant students of Olivet University who were not authorized to work in the United States to translate English content into Chinese and other languages, paying them less than minimum wage to do so. In 2016, employees complained publicly about missed payroll, meager or nonexistent severance packages, one-sided nondisclosure agreements; the nature of the connection between IBT and The Community, a Christian sect led by David Jang, is disputed. Da
Masters Home Improvement
Masters Home Improvement was an Australian home improvement chain operated by retailer Woolworths Limited. It was established as a way for Woolworths Limited to enter the hardware retail market, dominated by Bunnings Warehouse, owned by rival Wesfarmers; the two companies compete with each other with groceries, liquor and general merchandise. Most of the stores shared the same format of conventional Lowe's Home Improvement stores, borrowed elements from Bunnings Warehouse for its garden and trade areas. Masters 2.0 format stores were rolled out in 2015, as they were designed to create a more consumer-friendly experience. The joint venture was a failure for Woolworths Limited, accumulating losses of over A$3.2 billion over a 7 year period, caused Woolworths to exit the hardware market, with all stores being closed and sold off by 11 December 2016. It was regarded as one of the biggest disasters in Australian retail history. Woolworths announced its plan to enter the Australian hardware sector by establishing a joint venture with U.
S. based hardware chain, Lowe's on 25 August 2009. The original plan was to develop an excess of 150 stores within a 5 year period; the Masters brand name was announced on 2 May 2011, coinciding with the launch of the website at masters.com.au. Hans Hulsbosch, who has designed brand identities for Woolworths and Qantas designed the Masters brand and logo. At that time, there were 14 stores under construction, with building approval for an additional 10; the first outlet, located in Braybrook, opened to tradesmen on 31 August 2011, the general public on 1 September 2011. In the Sydney Morning Herald, Masters' first CEO Don Stallings was attributed as saying that staff will be trained for at least 100 hours, the stores will offer over 35,000 products. Ways in which Masters differentiated from its competitors included stores which were more brightly lit, more colourful with polished concrete, large colour signage and store displays, it aimed to place more emphasis on attracting female shoppers. Buzzers were scattered around the store, when pressed, will send a nearby staff member to that location to help out a customer.
While their paint was being tinted, pagers were handed to customers, enabling them to continue shopping. Masters sold more'non hardware' lines such as whitegoods as well as having McDonald's restaurants with McCafés in selected stores. In June 2012, Masters Home Improvement launched their transactional website that offered more than 30,000 products nationwide, giving them the title of Australia's first online hardware and home improvement retailer; the first two stores in Queensland opened at Springfield Central, at Tingalpa on 11 October 2011. The second store in South Australia followed at Adelaide Airport in December 2014. Matt Tyson was appointed as new managing director, replacing Melinda Smith, who had replaced initial managing director Don Stallings in July 2013. On 12 August 2014 it was announced that due to lower than expected sales per store and ongoing trading losses, the store roll out plan had been revised, advised targets would not be met; the store roll out plan would be slowed, with a target of 10-15 stores per year from thereon, with a focus on metropolitan stores in New South Wales and South Australia.
Announced was a revised in-store offer, with more space to be allocated to hardware and trade categories, further differentiation in project categories such as kitchens and bathrooms. Only a few of the older stores were retrofitted to include the new offer; the final store to open was at Penrith in New South Wales, which opened in December 2015, with an official opening on 16 January 2016. On 17 January 2016 Woolworths announced that it intended to "either sell or wind up" Masters Home Improvement. Chairman Gordon Cairns said that it would take years to become profitable and that the ongoing losses could not be sustained. To facilitate the sale or windup Woolworths would buy back a one-third interest in the joint venture held by the Lowe's subsidiary WDR Delaware Corporation. Managing Director Matt Tyson departed in February 2016 and was replaced by the general manager of finance, David Walker. Following an 8 month review process in which offers for the business were considered, it was announced on 24 August 2016 that all Masters stores would cease trading on or before 11 December 2016, GA Australia was appointed to manage the sale of inventory, provided an underwritten recovery to deliver gross proceeds of $500 million.
Home Consortium, a private joint venture between Aurrum Group, Spotlight Group and Chemist Warehouse, planned to acquire the Masters property portfolio, including 40 freehold trading sites, 21 freehold development sites and 21 leasehold sites. A number of the sites were to be converted into Bunnings Warehouse stores, with the remaining sites to be reformatted into multi tenant large format centres. Woolworths took assignment of 12 leases; the closing down sale commenced on 29 August 2016. In the first week of the sale, the discounts ranged from 10% to 30%, it received heavy criticism from consumers for discounts that were not as advertised. However, discounts were raised afterwards, rose to 90-95% in the final days. News items after the closure of Masters Home Improvement include: 9 February 2017: Bunnings Warehouse took over the former Masters stores at Mount Gambier, Gregory Hills and