Published On: Wed, Feb 27th, 2019

Hartlauer: “Amazon Is A Greedy Trading Company”

The electronics retailer Hartlauer wants to offer Amazon Paroli and equips IT and online.

Hartlauer On Amazon

The owner-managed electronics retailer Hartlauer will exchange its entire IT system this year and expand its online business. “Amazon is a greedy trading company,” said company chief Robert Hartlauer Tuesday evening at a press conference on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the hearing aid division. Hartlauer will invest around 10 million euros.

In the short term, the conversion will nibble profits, conceded Hartlauer. But his company is still profitable even then. In 2017, pre-tax profit amounted to 3.4 million euros, according to “Wirtschafts-Compass”. For 2018, the company has so far published only gross sales: this rose slightly from around 257 to 262 million euros.

Hartlauer intends to sell ten times the amount of today online. However, the problem is not an online shop, which is already there, but the service said Hartlauer. Hearing aids and glasses are advice-intensive products that could not be sold easily online. However, if a customer has already adjusted a device or a pair of glasses, successor models could simply be reordered. The head of the company has screens in all stores, where customers can see on-site which products are stored. So a close integration of branch and online shop, as many dealers already do.

The number of stationery stores should therefore not be reduced. Hartlauer has over 160 branches in Austria and employs 1,645 people, including 450 trained opticians and 150 state-certified hearing care professionals. 41 people work in the company’s own hearing aid production in Graz.

The electronics retail chain accounts for around a quarter of sales with the four business units Photo, Mobile, Optics and Hearing Aids. The most dynamic is the mobile phone area. However, eyewear, hearing aids and health items such as blood pressure monitors or blood glucose meters could also be earning well, as the average age of customers is increasing, according to Hartlauer.

Hartlauer is to own data the largest optician in Austria in terms of the number of glasses sold. However, given the low prices, others are ahead by revenue, the retailer admitted. Neuroth and Hansaton are in charge of hearing aids. Hartlauer offers hearing aids in 121 of its 160 stores. In 2018, 25,000 units had been sold. But the market is big. Around 1.7 million people in Austria suffered from hearing problems, the head of the company relies on studies. In the coming hearing aids that can be connected directly to the smartphone and with additional benefits such as simultaneous translation. Whether the average 70-year-old clientele needs it? The older ones are also increasingly modern, said Hartlauer.

About the Author