Dom Bw Landscape | NRA

In recent months a number of Australian newspapers and blogs have been identifying international companies that are looking to enter the Australian retail market.

Retail giant Amazon is expected to open their doors on Australian soil sometime later this year.  The Australian Financial Review (AFR) has published a number of articles since November 2016 relating to the American company sourcing warehouses, local suppliers and distributors within most states and territories. At this stage it is believed that Amazon will be up and running within the Australian retail market by September 2017.

Lidl, a German discount super store and chief rival of Aldi, is also said to enter the Australian retail sector this year. While the company has not made any official statement regarding their move into our market, they have started applying for thousands of trademarks within Australia increasing speculation that they will be opening stores here in the very near future.

In 2016, Myer announced a partnership with UK retailer John Lewis to sell manchester and homeware items in Myer stores around Australia. Officials from the company have confirmed that their products will be available from Myer in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Chadstone and Bondi by the end of 2017, with hopes of expanding the range of products available in the not too distant future.

International companies Debenhams, TJ Maxx and Decathlon are currently sourcing locations in capital cities around Australia. Both companies are looking to expand quite quickly within the market; Debenhams wishes to open at least 10 stores within the next year, while Decathlon is aiming to open 35 warehouse style stores in the coming years.

While no companies have specifically been named, the AFR believes that South African companies will be looking to also move into the Australian retail market shortly. With the African nation facing economic instability, labour disputes, currency exchange challenges and a lack of distribution infrastructure, an appealing option is for many companies to move their business down under.

I urge retailers not to be discouraged or disheartened at the increase in international companies moving into the Australian market. If anything these movements just reinforce how strong and viable our sector truly is. We need only to look at the recent figures on consumer spending for Boxing Day, where consumers spent $2.28 billion nationwide, an increase on the $2.19 billion spent in 2015, to feel reassured about the state of our market and how well we’re catering to our consumer’s needs.

Healthy competition has always been a part of the Australian way of life, particularly in the retail industry. We have always, and will continue, to rise to the challenges new additions bring to our market. Our innovative, creative and progressive ways of creating consumer centred services will be key to ensuring we not only compete against these incoming international companies, but that we thrive.

Ensuring consumers receive quality and personalised services will go a long way in warding off competition from these incoming international companies. Being able to connect to consumers on a range of platforms – online, offline and in the mobile universe – will allow for greater engagement and in turn encourage greater patronage. Thinking outside the box to engage with consumers will also give you an edge over your competitors.

As always, we will continue to monitor the current market situation and keep a watchful eye on any new players who enter the retail sector. While the media is uncertain when, or even if, these companies will arrive, I believe 2017 is shaping is shaping up to be an exciting year. Our members are feeling positive after the Christmas sales period and we’re anticipating the spending trend will continue throughout the year.

If you have any concerns or would like assistance in creating the best 2017 you can for yourself and your staff, please call us on 1800 RETAIL (1800 783 245).

Have a great week.

Dominique Lamb