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Retail Management

The Australian Centre for Retail Studies (ACRS) is offering a course to help retail management stay on top of the continuing skills shortage.

The Attracting and Retaining Retail Stars program will be held in Sydney from June 11 to 12, and in Melbourne on September 19 to 20. The name of the course says it all, and it’s designed for anyone in a senior retail position responsible for a team of staff. The program will look at the current employment landscape, how to understand various generations, how to attract staff with long term potential as well as management and leadership skills. The course costs $1,500 ($1,350 for ACRS members).

For more details visit www.buseco.monash.edu.au/centres/acrs

 

Franchise Checklist

A new checklist for those taking out a franchise has just been published by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

‘Being smart about your new franchise’ is designed to help prospective franchisees make an informed decision before signing up for a retail franchise.

John Martin, commissioner of the ACCC, says signing a lease agreement is a major part of buying a franchise, with the lease terms one of the main factors determining if the business will be successful. "The ACCC is focusing on educating and assisting people who are considering becoming franchisees in exercising due diligence before they enter into a franchise and commit to a retail lease," he says.

The new checklist will help those about to sign a lease to consider issues such as contractual obligations, renewal and transfer options and occupancy costs. Martin says it pays to be aware of potential pitfalls before it’s too late. "Prevention of a problem is better than trying to fix the damage afterwards."

The checklist can be downloaded from the "Publications" page at www.accc.gov.au

 

World Retail Leaders

The world leaders in retail were announced at the recent World Retail Awards, which took place during the inaugural World Retail Congress in Barcelona earlier this year.

The Mall of the Emirates in Dubai was named Retail Destination of the Year, an award designed to celebrate the street, mall or city that demonstrates the most attractive retail mix, growing footfall and commitment to innovation.

The mall has more than 440 retail shops, one of the world’s largest indoor ski slopes, 75 cafes and restaurants and a five star hotel.

The founder and chairman of Ikea, Ingvar Kamprad was one of the inductees into the Hall of Fame. Among the other awards, Ikea was named Multi Market Retailer of the Year, Marks & Spencer were named Responsible Retailer of the Year, and model Kate Moss was named Consumer Icon of the Year.

"To be employed in a company whose culture is appreciated is to do with our quality of life. It gives guidance to our behaviour and is paramount to retaining people."—Anders Dahlvig, president and CEO of Ikea, on the importance of company culture to keeping staff

94,000—the number of new stores over 5,400 of America’s retailers expect to open within the next five years

Source: Nielsen Trade Dimensions’ 2007 Retail Tenant Directory

 

Queensland’s Retail Rent

Retailers in Queensland have it best when it comes to occupancy costs, according to a new survey.

The new survey by retail leasing provider Leasing Information Services (LIS) shows a large discrepancy in occupancy costs across Australia, with the Sunshine State coming out on top.

"This can be attributed to higher sales growth in Queensland on a same store basis compared to stores in NSW and lower rentals in Brisbane, when compared to Sydney," says Simon Fonteyn, LIS director. "In certain retail sectors such as takeaway food, sales growth on a same store basis has been growing very strongly between 50 to 100 percent per annum for the past two years in Queensland."

The survey also showed retailers with stores in Queensland, New South Wales and ACT are expecting to get greater returns from their stores in Queensland.

However, this trend may not last long, as Fonteyn admits retail rents in metropolitan areas of Queensland are increasing rapidly, and in some areas are close to their Sydney counterparts. Some regional areas in Queensland also show greater retail rents than regional areas of NSW due to larger populations and catchment areas of Queensland.

 

Hardware Consolidation

Big changes in the hardware industry could spell bad news for small and independent retailers in the industry.

Business analysts IBISWorld predicts the current trend of private equity firms looking for targets with a strong cash flow, or a merger between wholesaler Danks and Mitre 10, will see a new major retailer enter the scene with the potential buying power to compete with industry giant Bunnings.

"We’re predicting consolidation among medium to large players in the industry as concentration continues to increase," says Jason Baker, general manager for IBISWorld in Australia.

Two key factors spell hard times for small hardware retailers, Baker explains. One is intense price-based competition, which could see Bunnings freezing out competitors through economies of scale. Secondly, IBISWorld believes Bunnings, Mitre 10 and Danks will seek to acquire their own independent stores under another banner, a process that has already begun with Mitre 10 launching a strategy last year that aimed to accumulate 50 stores by the middle of 2007.

This means the future doesn’t look too rosy for SMEs in the industry, Baker says. "Those smaller players that choose to stick around and struggle on will be forced to do so for lower than expected returns, with those in metropolitan and suburban areas really feeling the heat."

On a positive note, he says regional and rural hardware retailers are more likely to survive, as Bunnings requires a large base population in a store’s target area to justify the investment. "It is usually not financially viable for Bunnings to compete in country towns."

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