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Kitchenware retailer rewrites the rules
Kitchenware retailer rewrites the rules

If you are hosting celebrity chefs and conducting cooking classes to sell kitchenware, you might think a shopping mall is the logical place to be.

Not so, according to Chris Murphy, chief executive of Kitchen Warehouse. He closed down the retailer's only mall-based outlet at Morley's Galleria and opened a sixth store in Malaga.

In addition to high rents and a lack of floor space, customers can struggle to find parking in the all-important lead-up to Christmas.

The retailer relies on publicity through a big advertising spend and events to pull in customers. In the age of the celebrity chef, hundreds will come to in-store appearances by the likes of Adrian Zumbo, Ian Hewitson and Anna Gare.

"We make ourselves a destination," Mr Murphy said. "We create that need to come to us."

Mr Murphy acknowledges the gourmet home cooking trend fuelled by MasterChef and its counterparts has helped keep the cash registers ticking over.

The business he runs with wife Justine and co-owns with parents-in-law John and Marilyn McAuley, is a retail expansion story during a time of closures and shrinking profits.

"There's no doubt about it, it's a soft market at the moment and it is quite difficult. There's a lot of competition." Despite that, he said sales were up year-on-year at each outlet. He plans to open a Joondalup store next year.

To extend its reach beyond the metropolitan area, the Cannington-based company has launched an online store with plans for an Eastern States distribution centre.