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Australian Retailer OZhut Defies Retail Downturn and Expands Into Kitchenware

For Immediate Release
7 November 2011

Australian Retailer OZhut Defies Retail Downturn and Expands Into Kitchenware
OZhut is set for Christmas haul of over $200K with its newly launched foray into the culinary domain through OZKitchenware.

While the threat of GST and international competitors seems to be keeping Australia’s major retailers crying foul, niche e-commerce specialist OZhut has defied the statistics and expanded its online offering, with the launch of OZKitchenware.

“Having built a few niche stores in the journey thus far, we felt that a more mainstream category would allow us to share our e-commerce expertise with the wider community,” says Wai Hong Fong, Managing Director, OZhut.

With OZhut’s trademark awesome usability, succinct navigation and exceptional delivery, OZKitchenware, which launched on 24 October, is already attracting attention from budding Christmas ‘masterchefs’ and is set to secure over $200K worth of profits over the next couple of months.

Started in 2008, OZhut has successfully grown its e-commerce offering from just telescopes to represent 12 different verticals including breathalysers, bubble wrap, dog beds and motorcycle gear.

“In the beginning, we sold pretty much anything we could get our hands on. Dancing shoes, ladies leather boots, and telescopes! Very few suppliers were willing to give us product to sell because they perceived online retailers to be less credible and just ‘market spoilers’,” says Fong.

The company focuses on being the best in each niche area, through its offering of quality products, by building and fostering a loyal community, offering educational materials and providing exceptional customer service. OZhut's flagship store, OZScopes.com.au proves the effectiveness of this model by claiming the title of Australia’s favourite destination for telescopes and binoculars and was also recently nominated for two highly coveted Online Retail Industry Awards.

“Also most of our team are passionate foodies. So this is very exciting news for everyone as we get to engage another one of our passions in our workplace!”, shares Fong.

On the subject of the current climate and talk about the demise of the retail industry, Fong weighs in:

“I feel that locally, online retail still lacks in service, passion and community engagement. When you walk into a bricks and mortar store today like Myer or David Jones, this is far from their focus. There are unmanned counters, it’s difficult to find help, they carry a small range, and high prices all contribute to the retardation of retail growth in Australia.

“We believe we have a good mix of the above three allowing us to be a major disrupter in the market,” he concludes.

- ENDS -

For more information, please contact:

Wai Hong Fong
Managing Director
OZhut Pty Ltd
Mobile: 0411 203 309
Email: waihong.fong@ozhut.com

Background of OZhut

OZhut started in 2008 as a small online store in the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Though selling a number of products, over time the owners realised that their customers wanted a dedicated store for telescopes. To meet the high demands of these requests, OZScopes.com.au was born. Today, OZScopes is one of Australia's favourite destination for telescopes and binoculars.

OZhut carries over 75 reputed brands across over 12 stores, including OZDogBeds.com.au, OZBreathalyzer.com.au, OZMotorcyleGear.com.au and newly launched OZKitchenware.com.au. The OZhut philosophy is simple. OZhut is about engaging community, embracing differences and adopting a village mindset where life, love and laughter are celebrated. OZhut dedicates itself to providing true customer service, which means putting the right product, for the right reasons in the right hands.

The company motto, Live Love Laugh, encapsulates the spirit of what it aims to do: helping others live better, love deeper and laugh harder.

OZhut Awards:

• StartupSmart Awards Fastest 50 Growing Startups (2011) - 15th
• Pricewaterhousecoopers MyBusiness Award for Best E-Business (2010) - Finalist
• BRW Fast Starters - Top 100 Fastest Growing Startups in Australia (2011) - 68th
• Smart Company’s Web Awards Best eCommerce Store (2009 & 2010) - Finalist
• Online Retailer Industry Awards – Emerging Star Category (2009) – Finalist
• Online Retailer Industry Awards – Best Pure-Play Online Retailer (2011) – Finalist
• Online Retailer Industry Awards – Best Site Optimisation & Design (2011) – Finalist

Background on Wai Hong Fong
Wai Hong Fong is Co-Founder and Managing Director at OZHut, a multi-niche online retailer that is passionate about cultivating a lifestyle that celebrates all the things that are worth living for.

A self-confessed geek, Wai Hong started OZHut immediately after completing his Bachelor of Arts at the University of Melbourne. Wai Hong's experience as an entrepreneur has grown with the dynamic change that his business has undergone; from the initial days of dabbling with eBay to building multiple full fledged award-winning e-commerce stores. As an entrepreneur, he has done everything from writing code, web development and design, SEO and even running the packing tables at the warehouse.

Wai Hong's goal is to help build businesses that are profitable but purposeful and believes that the means by which we build them should be marked by integrity, humility and generosity.

Wai Hong was awarded ‘2011 Best Young Entrepreneur’ by StartUpSmart and also named amongst Smart Company’s ‘Hot 30 under 30’ in 2010 and 2011.