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Analysis and Comment (51)

What do your shopping decisions tell marketers about you? What do your shopping decisions tell marketers about you? Daniel Lee/Flickr

How your shopping choices will help Coles and Woolworths take on the banks

The days when Coles and Woolworths only sold groceries are long gone. Both are now established players in a broad range of consumer markets, with interests in liquor and hotels, fuel and convenience, general…
Lidl: will Australian shoppers line up for another discount grocery chain? Lidl: will Australian shoppers line up for another discount grocery chain? Robert Wallace/Flickr

A Lidl bit of grocery competition could cause a Coles rethink

Australian shoppers have inadvertently invited global discount grocers to our shores by demonstrating their readiness to adopt private labels. In 2001, German discounter Aldi opened its first store in…
Masters has hit problems securing good sites for its stores. Masters has hit problems securing good sites for its stores. Dave Hunt/AAP

Masters has machismo but needs Aldi smarts

When Woolworths delivered its half-year results in February, the numbers for its Masters hardware chain were sobering. On sales of A$393 million, Masters, a joint venture between Woolworths and US company…
Woolworths SA chief Ian Moir announced a proposal for the South African retailer to acquire David Jones in Sydney yesterday. Woolworths SA chief Ian Moir announced a proposal for the South African retailer to acquire David Jones in Sydney yesterday. AAP/Daniel Munoz

Who is the South African retail giant behind the David Jones bid?

Yesterday morning came the news South African retailer Woolworths had offered $4 a share to acquire David Jones, a proposal that has the approval of the department store’s board. This offer, worth an estimated…
It’s a physical struggle in these skirts, but we always shop in store. It’s a physical struggle in these skirts, but we always shop in store. Haute Couture News

Chanel opts out of fashion’s love affair with online shopping

In the world of luxury fashion, Chanel stands apart from the crowd. But it’s not the designs that make it different. The French luxury brand is one of the last few major labels that does not sell its clothes…
Tough times for one Lerwick store. Tough times for one Lerwick store. Andrew Milligan/PA

Amazon retail culture a blessing and a curse for Scots island life

E-commerce has irreversibly transformed our lives by giving us greater control over how, what, where and when we purchase. The further away an area is from traditional shopping regions, the more pronounced…
Online retail continues to grow, despite the shadow of cybercrime. Online retail continues to grow, despite the shadow of cybercrime. Dolinski/Flickr

Easy Target? The shadow hanging over online retail

The recent hack and subsequent data loss by US retailer Target involved the personal information of at least 70 million customers, including names, phone numbers, email and mailing addresses. It follows…
Big Australian retailers say conditions are tough, but overseas stores still see opportunities in the Australian market. Big Australian retailers say conditions are tough, but overseas stores still see opportunities in the Australian market. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

Poor strategy has left Australian retailers open to overseas entrants

Announcements by international retailers rushing to enter Australia belie the claims of some large Australian retailers that market conditions are tough and shoppers are leaving bricks and mortar stores…
If your target is making the biggest saving while shopping, you are probably a Sport Shopper. If your target is making the biggest saving while shopping, you are probably a Sport Shopper. Image sourced from www.shutterstock.com

Ready, steady, shop: shopping as sport

Do you approach shopping as if it is a competitive, sport-like activity? Or perhaps you attach social or emotional value in being recognised by your friends and peers as a great shopper, a proficient or…
Overseas based online retailers are far more innovative in coming up with ways to keep customers clicking. Overseas based online retailers are far more innovative in coming up with ways to keep customers clicking. BBC

Doing it better? Overseas online retailers aisles ahead

All the signs are there that Australian retailers are not investing enough in their online operations. More than A$24 billion was spent online during the 12 months to March 2013, with Australian online…
Christmas consumer ritualism: how will Christmas 2013 pan out for retailers? Christmas consumer ritualism: how will Christmas 2013 pan out for retailers? AAP Image/Daniel Munoz

Aussie retailers should get their Christmas wish this year

Consumer Sentiment fell by 4.8% in December, but despite the drop other indicators still point toward a robust Christmas period for retailers. Retail trade recorded its strongest result for three consecutive…
The federal government has come under increasing pressure to lower the GST threshold for online purchases as sales continue to rise and revenue continues to be lost. The federal government has come under increasing pressure to lower the GST threshold for online purchases as sales continue to rise and revenue continues to be lost. AAP/Alan Porritt

States' push for GST on online shopping is just small change

Both Labor and Coalition states are pushing the federal government to extend the GST to more online purchases as they look for additional sources of revenue. And while the Coalition had promised no changes…
A new grocery code of conduct provides new rules for a sector subject to price wars, but will not solve all market problems. A new grocery code of conduct provides new rules for a sector subject to price wars, but will not solve all market problems. Lukas Coch/AAP

Coles and Woolworths code useful, but beware disputes

Coles, Woolworths and the Food and Grocery Council have released a draft industry code of conduct to help govern their relationships with suppliers. The code will be “voluntary” under section 51AE of the…
David Jones has seen online sales grow 1000% since launching its omnichannel strategy, but online sales still only represent 1% of total sales. David Jones has seen online sales grow 1000% since launching its omnichannel strategy, but online sales still only represent 1% of total sales. AAP/Jeremy Piper

Australian retailers online: late to the party and much to do

Australian consumers are embracing digital commerce, but Australian retailers are failing to build long-term relationships with their customers online, according to new research. More than 50% of Australians…
Trades on the ‘grey markets’ are becoming increasingly common in Australia. Trades on the ‘grey markets’ are becoming increasingly common in Australia. flickr/zdenadel

Explainer: black markets, grey markets, and dark pools

There are a range of markets available to buyers and sellers that allow them to exchange goods and services. But whereas some markets are highly regulated, others are not regulated at all. The sale of…
Costco is looking to expand its US petrol business to its Australian stores. Costco is looking to expand its US petrol business to its Australian stores. lokeswari/Flickr

Costco’s entry into petrol is unlikely to help most consumers

In a new twist in the long-running Australian petrol wars, Costco is preparing to join the discount petrol market. Sydney’s second Costco outlet, scheduled to open later this year, will reportedly sell…
Eyeing up the China strategy. Eyeing up the China strategy. Fiona Hanson/PA

Kate Moss won’t crack China for Topshop without local help

Topshop continues its march towards global dominance. Sir Philip Green, the firm’s owner, is now in “advanced discussions” on opening their first stores in China, with Kate Moss set to lead the brand’s…
International brands like Uniqlo are heading to Australia in increasing numbers, defying gloom in the retail sector. International brands like Uniqlo are heading to Australia in increasing numbers, defying gloom in the retail sector. Uniqlo

Shopkeepers of the world unite: Uniqlo heading to Australia

Japanese fashion label Uniqlo and homeware store Muji will enter the Australian market next year, following other recent arrivals H&M, Topshop and Zara. Despite the purported decline of brick and mortar…
Customers leaving a Target store in Sydney earlier this year, with some of the biogradable shopping bags that can be bought at the counter. Customers leaving a Target store in Sydney earlier this year, with some of the biogradable shopping bags that can be bought at the counter. AAP/Dan Himbrechts

Target’s plastic bag backdown a loss for the silent majority

Charging for plastic bags at the checkout and even banning disposable plastic bags has been a growing global trend in recent years. So what should we make of the news that retailer Target is binning its…
David Jones plans to reinforce its position as a high-end retailer by downsizing stores and focusing on customer service. David Jones plans to reinforce its position as a high-end retailer by downsizing stores and focusing on customer service. AAP

From little things big things grow: what’s in store for DJ’s strategy?

The recent proclamation by David Jones CEO Paul Zahra that traditional department stores are likely to become smaller, fashion-focused and devoid of low-margin items reflects the various competitive influences…
Is everyone online? Is everyone online? anguskirk

Some high streets must die so that others can flourish

Whether we like it or not, the world of retail is changing. More and more of us are using the internet to browse shops, read product reviews and search for bargains. It is hardly surprising that this is…
Can Stelios run supermarkets as well as he runs airlines? Can Stelios run supermarkets as well as he runs airlines? Barry Batchelor/PA

Stelios' easyFoodstore will struggle to get off the ground

How low can you go? That is the question that easyJet founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou has posed to grocery shoppers with the announcement of plans for “easyFoodstore”, a budget grocery shop in Croydon, south…
In some industries, youth wages are still linked to a worker’s age, rather than one’s skill. In some industries, youth wages are still linked to a worker’s age, rather than one’s skill. AAP

Adults in all but pay: the case for increasing youth wages

The Fair Work Commission is currently considering an application for 20-year-olds working in retail to receive 100% of the adult wage, instead of the 90% they currently receive. The direct impact of the…
Is Bob Katter exaggerating when he says Coles and Woolworths own 80% of the groceries market? Is Bob Katter exaggerating when he says Coles and Woolworths own 80% of the groceries market? APH

FactCheck: do Coles and Woolies control 80% of the market?

“The Americans are screaming blue murder because WalMart and their competitor have now reached about 23% market share. Here we have two supermarkets with a market share of over 80%, so if they decide to…
When the sporting gods smile at Australia, we go to Rio, but Brazil has long been on the international business map. When the sporting gods smile at Australia, we go to Rio, but Brazil has long been on the international business map. AAP

All business roads lead to Rio

We have recently witnessed Brazil being hit by mass protests not seen since the days of the military dictatorship, but apart from the Socceroos going to the 2014 World Cup and the Rio Olympics in 2016…
Desperately seeking Tesco. Desperately seeking Tesco. Lynne Cameron/PA

Supermarkets can lead high street rebirth

A report released yesterday by the Centre for Retail Research (CRR) outlines a very bleak future for the UK high street. A fifth of shops are expected to close in the next five years, with 316,000 job…
Could the collapse of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh’s Savar district be a catalyst for reform of the global sweat shop trade? Could the collapse of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh’s Savar district be a catalyst for reform of the global sweat shop trade? AAP/ Abir Abdullah

Bangladesh disaster shows why we must urgently clean up global sweat shops

The disastrous building collapse in Bangladesh’s capital of Dhaka which has killed hundreds of ill-fated garment workers and wounded thousands, has finally shone some well-needed light into the murky business…
Blanket Burmese School. Blanket Burmese School.

Shopping for change this Christmas

Four-year-old Ar Zin stared at my bag. He knew there was something special inside. The classroom full of 30 Burmese refugee children was so hushed that I could each child’s breath, and Ar Zin’s eyes followed…
David Jones' 40% full year profit slump shows time is running out to embrace the sort of technology shoppers clearly want. David Jones' 40% full year profit slump shows time is running out to embrace the sort of technology shoppers clearly want. AAP

Not the end for department stores - but time is running out to embrace technology

David Jones' 40% full-year profit plunge sends a very clear message to the Australian retail sector: if you want to perform you need to reform. Such reform means a number changes to aspects of a retailer’s…
Australians love shopping online: so retailers must get to grips with the concept. Australians love shopping online: so retailers must get to grips with the concept. AAP

The great online shopping debate — how the locals can win

Australians are among the most enthusiastic online shoppers in the world. Our most recent survey, published in the CCi Digital Futures report, The Internet in Australia 2012, has found a quarter of Australian…
Prominent signage of unit pricing could help consumers make more informed choices about their grocery shopping. Prominent signage of unit pricing could help consumers make more informed choices about their grocery shopping. AAP

Unit pricing is smart shopping practice, but do consumers care?

In the confusing world of brands, package sizes, advertising and price promotions, what can help consumers make informed choices? Unit pricing – the price per standardised unit of measure introduced in…
Entrenched monopolies in Australia’s retail sector have made shopping malls a bland experience, particularly compared to malls in China. Entrenched monopolies in Australia’s retail sector have made shopping malls a bland experience, particularly compared to malls in China. Pondspider

A shake-up of retail regulation is something to mall over

Why are retail sales in the doldrums, or headed online? To me, it’s in part because Australian shopping malls are bland, uninteresting containers of branded chain stores and the same old franchises offering…
Is the “waterbed effect” - where manufacturers attempt to recoup discounts given to large retailers by raising prices for smaller competitors - an issue in Australia? Is the “waterbed effect” - where manufacturers attempt to recoup discounts given to large retailers by raising prices for smaller competitors - an issue in Australia? AAP

Who suffers when retailers exercise their market muscle?

When a major retailer uses its countervailing power (or “market muscle”) to negotiate better terms from suppliers, should policy makers be concerned? In Australia, the debate has focused on dairy farmers…
Dick Smith has been vocal about Woolworths selling his former electronics business - but his arguments don’t stack up. Dick Smith has been vocal about Woolworths selling his former electronics business - but his arguments don’t stack up. AAP

No place for jingoism in Woolies' sell-off of Dick Smith

Entrepreneur Dick Smith has been very vocal in the past few days about the prospect of his namesake retail business falling into “foreign hands”. Despite him selling the electronics chain to Woolworths…
Protests such as the Occupy movements are no longer considered fringe as consumer resistance goes mainstream. Protests such as the Occupy movements are no longer considered fringe as consumer resistance goes mainstream. AAP

The anti-shopping movement goes mainstream

Traditionally, the work of marketers has been to encourage the shopper to buy. For decades, marketers have focused on understanding, segmenting, or empirically dissecting a product or brand’s existing…
Christmas retail performance hasn’t been pretty this year. Christmas retail performance hasn’t been pretty this year.

Retailers aren’t feeling the festive cheer, but who’s to blame?

The lead up to Christmas inevitably draws our attention to the actions and performance of retailers. This December there have been very few tales of cheer. Major players such as JB Hi Fi, Billabong and…
The claim of “free to roam” is being challenged by the consumer regulator. The claim of “free to roam” is being challenged by the consumer regulator.

Impressions count when it comes to misleading consumers

Christmas is coming, which means consumers are out looking for great deals to fill stockings and feed the family. And for retailers and manufacturers, the temptation to add “spin” to their marketing is…
An abandoned shopping mall in Harvey, Illinois, once the scene of the car chase in iconic movie The Blues Brothers. An abandoned shopping mall in Harvey, Illinois, once the scene of the car chase in iconic movie The Blues Brothers. Flickr/Kenfagerdotcom

Dawn of the dead mall: will we follow the US and dump the shopping centre?

The shopping mall - it’s an essential part of American culture - the quintessential US shopping experience. And Australia isn’t far behind. More and more of us are ditching local stores for the convenience…
The budget shopper is alive and well - but what of the “ethical” shopper? The budget shopper is alive and well - but what of the “ethical” shopper? AAP/Woolworths

We are what we eat: the demise of the ethical grocery shopper

In 1954, American consumer behaviour academic, Gregory Stone identified four different types of consumers. Consisting of 150 in-depth interviews, Stone’s research found there was an “economic” shopper…
Sex shops are venturing out into the High Street. Sex shops are venturing out into the High Street. Paul Maginn

Sex in the city: the changing face of adult retailing

Cities are fizzing with opportunities to experience sex and sexuality. While sex usually takes place in private spaces, it is never really out of our minds. Unconsciously we “know” that it is taking place…
Despite grim predictions, shopping malls will still exist in 2050. Despite grim predictions, shopping malls will still exist in 2050. fleskw

Don’t worry, by 2050 retail won’t be all over the shop

AUSTRALIA 2050 – Making predictions about the future is always good fun. Despite the pretensions of many social futurists who wax lyrical with certainty about what will happen, and how we will work, live…
The Productivity Commission’s report gives the retail sector plenty to think about. The Productivity Commission’s report gives the retail sector plenty to think about. AAP

Ignoring our retail crisis will come at a serious price

Amid the panic that gripped the global markets over past few weeks, there have been some further signs that Australia’s retail sector is in the midst of its own crisis. Along with a sales slump for department…
Despite bleak predictions, bricks-and-mortar retail does have a future. Despite bleak predictions, bricks-and-mortar retail does have a future. AAP

Colorado takes a hike, but retail’s not going anywhere

The news that clothing and footwear chain Colorado is to close its doors will no doubt be greeted as further proof of bricks-and-mortar retail’s imminent extinction. Coupled with Small Business Minister…
Woolworths' Masters chain is set to challenge Bunnings' market dominance. Woolworths' Masters chain is set to challenge Bunnings' market dominance. Flickr/beeep

Can Woolworths master the tools of Bunnings' trade?

Woolworths has unveiled details of its plan to launch an assault on the $42 billion Australian hardware and home improvement market with its Masters store brand, raising the prospect of a new chapter in…

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