JB Hi-Fi is an Australian retailer of consumer electronics, as well as a supplier of video games and of Blu-rays, DVDs, and CDs. It is a chain store operation headquartered in Melbourne.
JB Hi-Fi was established in the Melbourne suburb of Keilor East by John Barbuto in 1975. Barbuto sold the business in 1983 to Richard Bouris & David Rodd who expanded JB Hi-Fi into a chain of ten stores in Melbourne and Sydney turning over $150 million by 2000, when they sold the majority of their holding to private equity. It was subsequently floated on the Australian Stock Exchange in October 2003.
At first, the company specialised in Hi-Fi equipment. As the mainstream popularity of vinyl records declined, in 1991 JB Hi-Fi cleared out their entire stock of records and began offering exclusively CDs, and were one of the first Australian music retailers to do so. (However, due to the recent revival of vinyl records larger stores began to stock them again.) This allowed JB Hi-Fi to open many new stores in Melbourne and later expand to other states. The chain now has stores all around Australia and in New Zealand’s largest cities.
Recently, while many music stores claim to have been losing money, JB Hi-Fi has increased profits by 26% FY10 when compared to 2008/2009 as they have been increasing the prices of products by double. JB also specialises in imported CDs, mainly from the United Kingdom and the United States, although CDs from other places, such as Africa, Asia and South America are available on special order.
JB Hi-Fi has diversified its business from predominantly selling music CDs, and are now a major retailer for numerous consumer electronics including Plasma and LCD televisions, audio/visual, digital camera photography, portable audio, in-car entertainment, computer/video games, gaming consoles and accessories, white goods (fridges and freezers) and DVD & Blu-ray movies, gadgets and information technology. As of 2012, JB HiFi has diversified into other accessories at certain stores, such as CB Radios, IP and fixed surveillance camera systems, musical instruments such as guitars, electronic keyboards, Ukuleles and guitars, and professional DJ equipment such as CD mixers, microphones and portable DJ P/A docking systems.