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Analysis and Comment (56)

For sighted users, a website looks no different whether it is accessible or not, but users with visual disabilities know all too soon when they are unable to use it. Coles home page screenshot

Oh the irony! Retailers blind to discrimination and lost business

A blind woman has launched a claim of unlawful discrimination against Coles and its online website. For those of us who are totally blind and working in the disability law space this lawsuit is no surprise…
With a few lines of code, cyber criminals and governments have able to infiltrate the security of banks and retailers and steal hundreds of millions in customer records. Shutterstock

JPMorgan hack signals banks and retailers can do more to keep our data safe

JPMorgan Chase early last month disclosed that cyber thieves pilfered account data on 76 million households and seven million small businesses over the summer, one of the biggest breaches ever and only…
Root and Branch review in the offing at Tesco? Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA

New Tesco CEO might enjoy the benefits of a dramatic debut

“Never let a good crisis go to waste.” The well-known words of Winston Churchill are probably on the mind of Dave Lewis, the new CEO of Tesco. The company faced what many deemed to be the worst crisis…
Leaving a sour taste. Tesco struggles to find a value proposition. StefZ

A wicked blueprint for tackling Tesco’s woes

Imagine taking over the reins of a firm which only a few years ago was regarded as one of the best run companies in the UK, but now routinely posted declining market share, moribund profits, and mounting…
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. 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. 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. 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…
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. 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. 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. 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? 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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…
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. 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…
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. 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? 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. 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. 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? 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.

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…
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. 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. 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? 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. 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. 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…
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. 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? 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…
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. 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. 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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