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17 Jan 2020 (AFR) – Retailers suffer as consumers pocket tax cuts

(17 January 2020, AFR, p9, Michael Bleby, Senior Reporter) ‘Cautious consumers are using tax refunds and savings from lower borrowing costs to save and reduce debt, rather than putting it back into the retail economy, economists warn. Analysis by UBS economists George Tharenou and Carlos Cacho of Reserve Bank of Australia figures shows credit card … Continue reading

14 Jan 2020 (AFR) – Walmart cuts a third of India executives, plans more

(14 January 2020, AFR, p16, Rachel Chang) ‘Walmart Inc is preparing to wind up its physical presence in India and has fired a third of its top executives there, said a local media report. The world’s largest retailer plans to halt new-store expansion in India and will continue to cut staff, said The Economic Times, … Continue reading

10 Jan 2020 (TheAge) – Retail fashion: Fashion chain Bardot closes 58 stores as analysts predict poor Christmas trade

(10 January 2020, The Age, Business, p23, By Dominic Powell) ‘The closure of 58 Bardot stores across the country has kicked off the new year on a sour note for retailers, with some analysts predicting a worse-than-expected trade across the key Christmas period. Before Christmas, shopkeepers had been concerned about slow sales in the key … Continue reading

23 Dec 2019 (TheAge) – Empty stockings for retailers as Australians shift away from physical gifts

(23 December 2019, The Age, p1, By Dominic Powell and Eryk Bagshaw) ‘Australian retailers look set to be battered by one of their worst Christmas seasons since the global financial crisis, as consumers shift away from traditional gifts to experiences and donations. Plunging consumer confidence and $25 billion worth of tax cuts have done little … Continue reading

21 Dec 2019 (AFR) – Retail: Black shadow over Christmas shopping

(21 December 2019, AFR, p37, Sue Mitchell and Lucas Baird) ‘Retailers are cutting shifts for Christmas casuals, culling staff and bringing forward Boxing Day discounts in further signs that retail spending has fallen short of expectations after bumper Black Friday sales in November. Department stores and specialty retailers have reduced hours for casual staff and … Continue reading

14 Dec 2019 (AFR) – Black Friday boosts traffic online and in stores

(14 December 2019, AFR, p27, Sue Mitchell, Senior Reporter) ‘Black Friday boosted traffic online and in stores and the growth has continued into December, but may lead to soft clearance sales on Boxing Day and in January. According to analysis by Citigroup, online traffic for major Australian retailers rose about 30 per cent to 40 … Continue reading

11 Dec 2019 (AFR) – Retail: Spending spree still likely: RBA’s Lowe

(11 December 2019, AFR, p10, Matthew Cranston and James Eyers) ‘Reserve Bank of Australia governor Philip Lowe has held out hope of a bounceback in consumption, saying on Tuesday that while he was surprised at disappointing spending figures he still expected interest rate cuts will eventually boost them. Household consumption was a very weak 0.1 … Continue reading

3 Dec 2019 (TheAge) – ‘Through the roof’: Retailers reap the benefits as shoppers go wild for Black Friday

(3 December 2019, The Age, p16, By Dominic Powell) ‘Black Friday sales at one of Australia’s biggest online retailers almost doubled this year, as shoppers turned out in force despite broader weak-spending and low-consumer-confidence conditions. Online retailer Kogan said sales for last Friday were up over 80 per cent on 2018, coming in just shy … Continue reading

24 Oct 2019 (AFR) – Temple & Webster hits its stride as furniture, homewares shift online

(24 October 2019, AFR, p19, Sue Mitchell, Senior Reporter) ‘Temple & Webster has clocked up its strongest sales growth since listing almost four years ago as Millennials and budget-conscious first home buyers shop for more of their furniture and homewares online. While Nick Scali’s like-for-like store sales have fallen 8 per cent in the year … Continue reading

14 Sept 2019 (AFR) – Retailers search for green shoots as consumers save rather than spend

(14 September 2019, AFR, p23, Sue Mitchell, Senior Reporter) ‘With wages stagnating and the cost of living rising, discount department store chain Best & Less should be thriving. But Andrew Moore, chief financial officer of the 196-store chain, says trading is tougher than it was 12 months ago and recent stimulus in the form of … Continue reading

9 Sept 2019 (TheAge) – ‘On a good wicket’: Online sales a bright spot for dejected retailers

(9 September 2019, The Age, p12, By Dominic Powell) ‘Australia’s biggest retailers, such as Coles, Woolworths and JB Hi-Fi, have grown their online sales by more than 20 per cent in the past financial year, creating a bright spot in an otherwise gloomy trading environment. Online sales at electronics retailer JB Hi-Fi jumped 23 per … Continue reading

6 Sept 2019 (AFR) – Retail: Myer defies doomsayers as profits rise for first time in nine years

[COMMENT: A window into the retail and fashion industry.] (6 September 2019, AFR, p17, Sue Mitchell, Senior Reporter) ‘Myer chief John King has scuttled persistent rumours the department store chain will call in administrators to speed up store closures, saying it was making headway on its turnaround plan and hoped to lift profits this year … Continue reading

6 Sept 2019 (AFR) – Investors don’t buy the ‘death of the consumer’

(6 September 2019, AFR, p6, Tim Boyd and Luke Housego) ‘On the surface, economic data unveiled this week painted a bleak picture of the national retail industry, as annual economic growth slowed and retail trade contracted in July. But that hasn’t stopped investors jumping back into retail stocks.’ Read more at (might need AFR … Continue reading

31 Aug 2019 (AFR) – Harvey Norman chairman upbeat about consumer outlook

(31 August 2019, AFR, p22, Carrie LaFrenz, Senior Reporter) ‘Harvey Norman chairman Gerry Harvey says low unemployment, interest rates heading to zero and chatter about quantitative easing should all help consumer spending this new financial year in Australia. The nation’s largest white goods, homewares and furniture retailer said Australian franchisees had a strong start to … Continue reading

24 Aug 2019 (AFR) – Department stores: Luxury brands transform David Jones flagship

(24 August 2019, AFR, p2, Sue Mitchell, Senior Reporter) ‘Department stores are not going the way of the dinosaur any time soon, judging by the support from designer brands for David Jones’ $400 million refurbishment of its flagship Elizabeth Street store in Sydney.’ Read more at (might need AFR login access, or try:

16 Aug 2019 (TheAge) – Fallout from payment scandal overshadows Super Retail’s solid result

(16 August 2019, The Age, Business, p24, By Dominic Powell) ‘Super Retail Group has warned of additional costs to make up for underpaying its store managers for several years, overshadowing an otherwise robust full-year result.’ Read more at

13 Aug 2019 (AFR) – JB Hi-Fi busts the big retail myth

(13 August 2019, AFR p32, James Thomson, Chanticleer) ‘Yet another set of good results from JB H-Fi have been delivered despite some dramatic shifts in both the retail sector and the consumer electronics industry. There’s a sort of ruthless efficiency to the JB H-Fi retail machine. Year in, year out, the company produces results that … Continue reading

13 Aug 2019 (TheAge) – Retail: ‘Cautiously optimistic’: JB Hi-Fi posts strong result despite Good Guys dip

(13 August 2019, The Age, Business, p22, By Dominic Powell) ‘JB Hi-Fi chief executive Richard Murray said a post election sales bump helped the music and electronics store grow profits in the 2019 financial year, defying the gloomy conditions across the battered retail sector. Speaking to The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, Mr Murray … Continue reading

3 Aug 2019 (AFR) – Department stores no longer a ‘destination’

(3 August 2019, AFR, p6, Simon Evans and Tim Boyd) ‘David Jones and Myer need to move faster in closing and shrinking their stores as spending rapidly shifted online, warned experts who said the appeal of being a ”destination” faded years ago. The malaise in department stores was reinforced on Friday when Australian Bureau of … Continue reading

5 April 2019 (TheAge online) – Victorians return to the shops, easing economic fears

(5 April 2019, The Age online, By Noel Towell) ‘Victorians rediscovered their love of shopping and eating out in May, pushing retail sales figures back into growth territory after a dismal trading month in April and easing fears of a slowdown in the state’s economy. The Age reported on Thursday that the state’s households had … Continue reading

4 July 2019 (TheAge) – Victorian shoppers keep their cards in their wallets as economy falters

(4 July 2019, The Age, p1, By Noel Towell) ‘Victoria’s economic growth has ground to a five-year-low as stagnant wages and plunging property prices force consumers to put away their credit cards. Only energy companies had reason to smile in the March quarter, with soaring bills for electricity, gas and other fuels the only things … Continue reading

19 June 2019 (AFR) – Bricks-and-mortar retail future bright: Colliers

(19 June 2019, AFR, p36, Larry Schlesinger, Reporter) ‘Despite rising vacancy rates and falling rents, bricks-and-mortar retail stores have a strong future in Australia, commercial real estate group Colliers International has asserted in its latest market outlook report. The group’s Retail Research and Forecast Report for the first half of 2019 shows only a handful … Continue reading

6 April 2019 (AFR) – Consumer gloom pierced by retail sunshine

(6 April 2019, AFR, p25, Sarah Turner) ‘Super-strong retail sales growth and the windfall promised to households from the federal budget amount to firm signs that the gloom is lifting for the beleaguered consumer, diminishing the case for interest rate cuts. Seasonally adjusted retail sales lifted 0.8 per cent in February, surprising market economists who … Continue reading

6 Feb 2019 (AFR) – Clearance sales causing ‘domino effect’ in retail, says administrator

(6 February 2019, AFR, p20, by Sue Mitchell) ‘Closing-down and clearance sales are triggering a “domino effect” on the discretionary retail sector and could force more shops to the wall, according to the administrator of menswear chain Ed Harry. KPMG partner Brendan Richards, who was appointed administrator to Ed Harry last month, says the sales … Continue reading

24 Jan 2019 (AFR) – Retail foot traffic falls again in January following worst December on record

(24 January 2019, AFR, p17, by Sue Mitchell) ‘Foot traffic in retail stores continued to fall in January after the worst December on record, dragging down same-store sales at under-pressure discretionary retailers and auguring poorly for the sector this year. Foot traffic fell 4 per cent in the first week of January, year on year, … Continue reading

9 Jan 2019 (AFR) – Kathmandu down… is The Reject Shop next?

(9 January 2019, AFR, p14, by Sarah Thompson and Anthony Macdonald) ‘Earnings downgrades rarely happen in isolation. One in a particular sector will often bring a second, while one at a company will often be followed up with another in the not too distant future. So fund managers are on high alert following Kathmandu’s softer … Continue reading

27 Dec 2018 (TheAge) – ‘Big ships to turn around’: Department stores face new year slump

(27 December 2018, The Age, p1, by Eryk Bagshaw) ‘Department stores are set to be hammered by one of their worst holiday shopping periods since the global financial crisis, with a survey commissioned by its own retailers association predicting a measly 0.4 per cent growth rate over the crucial post-Christmas sales. The paltry figure is … Continue reading

7 Dec 2018 (TheAge) – Retail boosted by fashion and online sales

(7 December 2018, The Age, Business, p30, By Charlotte Grieve) ‘Shoppers outlaid more on clothes and shoes, offsetting lower spending on eating out and takeaways to lift retail sales 0.3 per cent in October, but economists warn consumers will further tighten their belts next year. Seasonally adjusted retail spending was $26.99 billion, up from $26.89 … Continue reading

4 Dec 2018 (TheAge) – Laura Ashley collapses for the second time in two years

(4 December 2018, The Age, Business, p25, by Patrick Hatch) ‘British homeware and fashion brand Laura Ashley’s Australian business has gone into administration – the second time it has collapsed in two just years. The company appointed KordaMentha as voluntary administrators on Monday, which has put its 18 stores and the licence to operate the … Continue reading

24 Nov 2018 (AFR) – ASX’s ‘santa rally’ under threat from weak consumer

(24 November 2018, AFR, p24, by Sarah Turner) ‘Investors may find their Christmas stockings rather empty if the traditional year-end market rally fails to materialise due to weak consumer spending. “I find it hard to see one of those broad-based rallies taking place due to uncertainty on the political and regulatory front,” Janus Henderson head … Continue reading