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11 Jan 2020 (AFR) – Fallen icon: The undoing of Harris Scarfe

[COMMENT: The current challenges for retailers…] (11 January 2020, AFR, p19, Carrie LaFrenz, Senior Reporter) ‘December is supposed to be the busiest time of the year for retailers as Christmas approaches and shoppers make last-minute purchases. But that wasn’t the case for South Australian retail icon Harris Scarfe, which had been struggling for years with … Continue reading

11 Jan 2020 (AFR) – Retail sales smash expectations

(11 January 2020, AFR, Matthew Cranston, Economics correspondent) ‘Seasonally adjusted retail sales surged 0.9 per cent in November – the strongest growth in two years and well ahead of economist’s expectations for just 0.4 per cent growth. Economists had expected a bounce back in November with events such as Black Friday having become more statistically … Continue reading

11 Jan 2020 (AFR) – Pressure on RBA eases following retail, sharemarket highs

(11 January 2020, AFR, p3, Matthew Cranston and Nick Lenaghan) ‘The chances of the Reserve Bank of Australia cutting interest rates to a record low of 0.5 per cent next month have eased, following the strongest retail sales figures for two years, a surge in house prices and record highs in the sharemarket. With two … 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

19 Dec 2019 (AFR) – Retailing: NAB retail points to best month since February

(19 December 2019, AFR, p6, Matthew Cranston, Economics correspondent) ‘November retail sales are expected to show the best monthly growth since February, according to National Australia Bank’s analysis of cashless payments. The bank’s data mapping suggests that the official retail trade measure will rise 0.6 per cent in November, up from 0 per cent growth … Continue reading

18 Dec 2019 (AFR) – Retailers: Festive spirit missing in action as Australia burns

(18 December 2019, AFR, p19, Sue Mitchell, Senior Reporter) ‘Retailers are counting on a surge in spending over the next week after enduring “standard” sales volumes in December to date. The week before Christmas is usually the busiest of the year for bricks and mortar retailers as consumers stock up on food and drinks 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

6 Dec 2019 (AFR) – Hopes pinned on sales as retail ‘stuck in neutral’

(6 December 2019, AFR, p7, Matthew Cranston, Economics correspondent) ‘Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas retail sales are the new hope for economists after October sales figures showed no growth, adding further concerns about weak consumption and a slow economy.’ <snipped…> ‘Seasonally adjusted retail sales were flat in October, disappointing economists who had expected 0.3 … Continue reading

29 Nov 2019 (AFR) – Retail bricks and mortar: Womenswear retailer Bardot joins fashion victims

(29 November 2019, AFR, p19, Sue Mitchell, Senior Reporter) ‘Fast fashion retailer Bardot has become the latest victim of weak retail spending and increasing competition from global and online retailers, falling into administration on Thursday. Brendan Richards and Ryan Eagle of KPMG were appointed voluntary administrators and have appointed Deloitte Corporate Finance to look for … Continue reading

9 Nov 2019 (AFR) – Retailers brace for tough Christmas

(9 November 2019, AFR, p23, Sue Mitchell, Senior Reporter) ‘… when Harvey Norman managing director Katie Page told investors in August the federal government’s attempts to stimulate the economy were unlikely to boost retail spending because of a tax office crackdown on individuals and small businesses, the initial reaction was scepticism.’ <snipped…> ‘The latest retail … Continue reading

5 Nov 2019 (TheAge) – ‘Worrying sign’: Retail slumps to worst performance since last recession as jobs weaken

(5 November 2019, The Age, p1, By Shane Wright) ‘Australians are buying everyday goods at the slowest rate since the 1990-91 recession as signs grow that interest rate reductions and the Morrison government’s tax cuts have failed to encourage shoppers to open their wallets. As a key measure of the employment market pointed to a … Continue reading

24 Oct 2019 (AFR) – ‘Ripe for disruption’: Kogan first-quarter sales, profits rise

(24 October 2019, AFR, p19, Sue Mitchell, Senior Reporter) ‘The retail malaise seems to have bypassed online retailer which has reported solid first quarter sales and profit growth, although the increase in new customers has slowed as the business matures. said gross sales rose more than 16 per cent in the September quarter … Continue reading

4 Oct 2019 (AFR) – Retail activity picks up, but no sign of stimulus

(4 October 2019, AFR, p10, Michael Mehr) ‘Retail sector activity picked up slightly in September, a survey of the Australian services industry suggests, recovering from nine months of continuous contraction. “Retail trade was broadly stable after declining for the best part of a year,” Ai Group chief executive Innes Willox said after the release of … Continue reading

19 Sept 2019 (AFR) – Retailers say stimulus will take months to flow through to sales

(19 September 2019, AFR, p17, Sue Mitchell, Senior Reporter) ‘Retailers say stimulus from tax cuts is likely to take months rather than weeks to boost retail sales, while record low interest rates are spooking consumers rather than spurring them to loosen their wallets. The chief executives of Australia’s largest shopping centre owner, Scentre Group, online … 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

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

4 Sept 2019 (TheAge,SMH) – A $16 billion cash boost for consumers – so why aren’t we shopping?

(4 September 2019, The Age, Business, p27, Elizabeth Knight) ‘A $16 billion boost to disposable income should have opened consumers’ wallets, but as yet they remain closed. There was plenty of hype and anticipation attached to the July retail sales numbers released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on Tuesday. So the 0.1 per … 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 (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

2 Aug 2019 (AFR) – Retail recession causes $437m write-down of David Jones

(2 August 2019, AFR, p21, Tim Boyd, Reporter) ‘The local retail market is in recession according to South African-based retailer Woolworths Holdings, which said it was forced to write down the value of upmarket department store David Jones by $437 million as a result. Woolworths announced the write-down to the Johannesburg stock exchange on Thursday … 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

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

4 April 2019 (AFR) – Why retailers should feel better now – Harvey tips ‘domino effect’ boost to sales

(4 April 2019, AFR, p16, Simon Evans and Sue Mitchell) ‘Harvey Norman executive chairman Gerry Harvey expects a positive ”domino effect” on consumer spending from the federal budget tax cuts, which will prompt shoppers to buy shoes, fridges and televisions. “I think it will be across the board and it will have a domino effect,” … Continue reading

1 March 2019 (TheAge) – There’s no end in sight to flat retail conditions, warns Gerry Harvey

(1 March 2019, The Age, Business, p21, by Patrick Hatch) ‘Retail veteran Gerry Harvey has warned there is no end in sight to the economic headwinds that are battering consumer confidence and in turn causing a slowdown at the nation’s cash registers, saying his hopes remain pinned on overseas investments to deliver growth.’ Read more … 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