Browsing articles in "retail"
Friday 7th October 2016 - 4:12 pm
Comments Off on Banking woes:we’ve been here before

Banking woes:we’ve been here before

by Alan Thornhill

Our big four banks have a privileged position in the Australian economy.

It allows them to charge 18 per cent on credit card debt, when some banks overseas are offering similar products on ionterest free deals, just to get the business.

And 2 per cent is considered to be an acceptable commercial rate.

Economists have a name for such situations.

They call them oligopolies.

Years ago. when I was studying economics at university, a fellow student pronounced that word as it rhymed with “roly poly.”

The correct pronunciation is much closer to that of another word economists love.

That, of course, is “monopoly.”

This is appropriate because an oligopoly is nothing more than a shared monopoly.

So who pays for the extra-ordinary privileges that Australia’s banks have now?

You do, of course.

And who’s to blame?

In a superb series of talks, that a senior Financial Review writer, Trevor Sykes, produced for the ABC, he came up with an answer that will surprise many.

Alan Bond,

Along with other large scale speculators, such as Robert Holmes a Court, Bond owed billions to Australia’s banks, when the global financial crisis arrived with a major stock market crash in October, 1987

As Kerry Brien recalls in his book Keating, Australia emerged from this crisis with a brand new Reserve Bank and a promise of better behaviour from Australis’s commercial banks, who admitted back they had, previously, lent recklessly at times.

But that was almost 30 years ago.

There has been some deterioration since then, though, and government MPs are now pushing for stronger competition in Australia’s banking sector.

There has been little sign of that yet, though,

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Thursday 1st September 2016 - 5:25 pm
Comments Off on Retail sales “flat” ABS

Retail sales “flat” ABS

by Alan Thornhill

Retail sales were flat in July, according to figures the Bureau of Statistics published today.

 
The bureau also reported that new private capital spending continued to fall sharply in the June quarter.

 

But it said and that the number of working days lost through strikes – and other industrial disputes – rose over the past year.

 

 

The bureau said retail turnover did not change in July, although it had risen by 0.1 per cent in June.

 

It made this comparison on seasonally adjusted figures.

 

On the same basis, there were rises in food retailing (0.7 per cent), cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (1.2 per cent), and other retailing (0.2 per cent).

 

Sales of clothing, footwear and personal accessories also rose by 0.3 per cent.

 

However department store sales fell during the month.
The bureau also said that, in seasonally adjusted terms, retail sales rose by 0.5 per cent in Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania while sales in WA rose by 0.3 per cent and those in the ACT increased by 1.2 per cent.
Sales in the Northern Territory rose by 0.4 per cent.

 

However these rises were offset by falls of 0.6 per cent in Victoria and 0.2 per cent in NSW.
The bureau also noted that private new capital spending fell by 5.4 per cent in the June quarter of this year and dropped 17.4 per cent from the level seen in the same quarter of last year.
These falls are generally associated with the end of the mining boom.
The bureau also noted that Australia lost 100.7 thousand working days through strikes, in the 12 months to the end of June.
That was up from 76.8 thousand working days in the previous 12 months.

 

Friday 19th August 2016 - 3:43 pm
Comments Off on Women’s pay “catching up” government

Women’s pay “catching up” government

by Alan Thornhill

The Federal government says there has been ‘encouraging” progress with its efforts to reduce the gap between the pay of men and women.

The Minister for Employment and Women , Senator Michaelia Cash, said today this is reflected in the latest average weekly earnings figures published by the Bureau of Statistics.

These showed, on average, that men working full-time earned $1,613.60 a week in May this year, while women were earning $1,352.50.

Although Senator Cash admitted that this still represents a difference of $261.10 a week, she said a close look at the Bureau’s figures also suggests that women are starting to catch up.

For example, she said that: “between May 2015 and May 2016, women’s weekly earnings grew by 3.4 per cent while men’s weekly earnings grew by 1.3 per cent.”

She said there is other evidence, too, that the “gender gap” between the pay of men and women is being trimmed.

The ABS data, for example, also showed that the gap,for full time employees has narrowed to 16.2 per cent, a decrease of 1.7 percentage points from a year ago.

However Senator Cash also said that while this is “encouraging,” the Government’s determination to cut this still “stubbornly high gap is unwavering.”

“Given that less than two years ago the gender pay gap was 18.5 per cent, these figures demonstrate significant progress,” Senator Cash said.

She claimed progress, too, in the government’s efforts to employ more women.

“In the month of July, the level of employment for women rose by 8,100 and is now at a record high of over 5.5 million.

“Furthermore, the participation rate for women has also trended upwards over the last 12 months,” she said.

Senator Cash also said: “the Turnbull Government is working to close the gender pay gap by:

* Ensuring women have the skills and support they need to work in growth industries, with $13 million invested through the National Innovation and Science Agenda in

getting more women into science, technology, engineering and maths

* Shining the light on pay equity through the work of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency

* Setting a new target of men and women each holding 50 per cent of Australian Government board positions and strengthening the BoardLinks program and

* Its scholarship and mentoring programs, improving gender diversity in senior leadership roles

*Partnering with UnitingCare on the Springboard Project to give women the opportunity to train and build a career in the UnitingCare network, while also

providing the flexibility to care for their families

* Supporting Australian women to participate in the workforce through our Jobs for Families Child Care package

* Boosting the superannuation of women who have taken time out of work through the Low Income Superannuation Tax Offset.

Senator Cash said it is clear from these latest figures that employers are taking action and this effort is producing results.

“To see these encouraging results continue we all need to maintain our attention on improving gender equality and that applies to Government, employers and individuals – ensuring we achieve true gender equality will require a concerted and lasting commitment from everyone,” she added.

Monday 8th August 2016 - 7:27 pm
Comments Off on Job ads “ease”

Job ads “ease”

by Alan Thornhill

Job advertising fell last month, according to research the ANZ bank published today.

 

The bank said job ads fell by 0.8 per cent in July.

 

It said this was the first decline since April and may reflect heightened uncertainty temporarily delaying the hiring plans of some employers.

 

It added that the annual growth in job ads has slowed to 6.9 per cent from 8.0 per cent  the previous month.

 

 

The bank said too, that the fall in July was driven by both internet and newspaper job ads.

 

Internet job advertisements, which are the main driver of total job ads, declined by 0.7 per cent in July, the bank noted.

 

It said that annual growth in internet jobs ads had slowed from 8.8 per cent  in June to 7.9 per cent in July.

 

The more volatile newspaper ads remain on a structural downward trend and fell further in July, down 12.6 per cent  in the month to be 41.7 per cent  lower than a year ago.

 

The bank’s head of Australian Economics, Felicity Emmett, said:  “the labour market has lost some momentum so far in 2016.”

 

She said there had been :  “slower average growth in both employment and job ads seeing the unemployment rate stabilise around 5.75 per cent.

 

The labour market has lost some momentum so far in 2016, with slower average growth in both employment and job ads seeing the unemployment rate stabilise around 5.75 per cent, in the second half of last year from a peak of 6.3 per cent.”

 

Ms Emmett said, too, that: “more recently, job ads rebounded strongly in May, followed by a modest rise in June.”

 

But she also noted that:  “…these increases have been partly unwound by the decline in July.

 

“Given that ads fell sharply in early July, we think this decline may partly reflect the impact of increased uncertainty following the close federal election on 2 July and the shock decision by the UK to leave the European Union on 24 June,” she said.

 

This impact appears to have been short-lived,

 

Job advertising fell las month, according to research the ANZ bank published today.

 

Ms Emmett also said:  “the labour market has lost some momentum so far in 2016.”

 

Ms Emmett said, too, that: “… job ads rebounded strongly in May, followed by a modest rise in June.”

 

But she also noted that:  “…these increases have been partly unwound by the decline in July.

 

“Given that ads fell sharply in early July, we think this decline may partly reflect the impact of increased uncertainty following the close federal election on 2 July and the shock decision by the UK to leave the European Union on 24 June,” she said.

 

This impact appears to have been short-lived,” Ms Emmett added.

 

 

With surveyed business conditions remaining upbeat and the RBA cutting rates in August, we look for a gradual improvement in hiring intentions over the remainder of the year,” Ms Emmett said.

 

 

Thursday 4th August 2016 - 12:57 pm
Comments Off on Retail sales rise – slightly – in June

Retail sales rise – slightly – in June

by Alan Thornhill

Retail sales rose 0.1 per cent in June on seasonally adjusted figures  the Bureau of Statistics published today.

 

The Bureau said   this followed a rise of 0.2 per cent in May 2016.

It said that in seasonally adjusted terms, there were rises in clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (3.5 per cent), household goods retailing (0.3 per cent) and department stores (0.7 per cent).

 

But there were falls in food retailing (-0.6 per cent), cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (-0.1 per cent) and other retailing (-0.1 per cent) in June 2016.
In seasonally adjusted terms, retail sales rose in Queensland (1.1 per cent) and Western Australia (0.1 per cent).

 

Turnover in South Australia was relatively unchanged (0.0 per cent).

 

And there were falls in New South Wales (-0.2 per cent), Victoria (-0.1 per cent), the Australian Capital Territory (-0.6 per cent), the Northern Territory (-1.1 per cent) and Tasmania (-0.2 per cent).

 

The Bureau also said that the trend estimate for Australian retail turnover rose 0.2 per cent in June following a 0.2 per cent rise in May 2016.

 

Compared to June 2015 the trend estimate rose 3.1 per cent.

 

 

Online retail turnover contributed 3.4 per cent to total retail turnover in original terms.

 

In seasonally adjusted volume terms, turnover rose 0.4 per cent in the June quarter 2016, following a rise of 0.5 per cent in the March quarter 2016.

 

The largest contributor to the rise was “other retailing,”  which rose 1.9 per cent in seasonally adjusted volume terms in the June quarter 2016.

Wednesday 3rd August 2016 - 9:47 pm
Comments Off on PM confronts banks

PM confronts banks

by Alan Thornhill

Malcolm Turnbull directly challenged Australia’s big banks today, saying they should pass on the rate cut the Reserve Bank announced earlier this week in full, or explain why.

 

So far the banks have been passing on about half of the 0.25 per centage point cut.

 

That has left families with $300,000 mortgages some $20 a month out of pocket.

 

The Prime Minister said Australia had needed a period of economic transition after its huge mining construction boom.

 

“That’s why we have the big trade export deals, the big deals, the big free trade deals,” he said.

 

However the shadow Treasurer, Chris Bowen disagreed.

 

He said the government was simply “chest beating” on the rate cut.

 

So, this is a Government which is being exposed for a lack of economic leadership, for a lack of economic plan,” Mr Bowen said.

 

He said the government had no plan to increase investment in the non-mining sector, to ensure that we have jobs for the future. “

 

Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison are simply not up to the job,” Mr Bowen said.

Wednesday 3rd August 2016 - 1:59 pm
Comments Off on How we spend our time – and money

How we spend our time – and money

by Alan Thornhill

Hard working Australians, who leave themselves little time to shop, are buying more of their food and groceries online.

 

The National Australia Bank, which watches these trends, says we spent more than $20 billion, making online purchases over the past year.

 

And the strongest growth, seen in that time, was among those aged 35 to 44.

 

That is people of prime working age.

 

Their spending on groceries and liquor rose by 20,5 per cent over the past year.

 

They also spent 19.2 per cent more on homewares and appliances.

 

Meanwhile 18-24 year olds spent 22 per cent more on fashion and 19.9 per cent more on media.

 

The bank said that while overall growth in online spending was still quite strong, it had flattened from that seen back in 2011 when the index was first established.

 

The bank’s Chief Econmomist, Alan Oster, said  “the $20.1 billion spent online by Australians in the last year is equivalent to 6.8 per per cent of spending in the bricks and mortar’ retail sector.

 

“And growth by online businesses is far outpacing these traditional retailers,” he added.s

Wednesday 20th July 2016 - 9:09 am
Comments Off on Australia:the entepreneurial

Australia:the entepreneurial

by Alan Thornhill

Thinking of starting a new small business?

 

You are not alone.

 

A new survey, that the National Australia Bank published today, shows that one Australian in three shares your ambition.

 

The bank says this shows that the start-up culture is alive and well, in this country.

 

So what did the survey find?

 

The key conclusions, according to the bank, were:-

 

  • Around 1 in 3 Australians would like to own their own business with young Australians clearly the most aspirational (nearly 1 in 2)
  • Over 1 in 2 men and 41 per cent of women say they have “good” to “excellent” levels of entrepreneurship
  • The most popular new businesses are cafés and retail, followed by IT and personal services
  • Most budding entrepreneurs would go it alone or with their spouse or partner
  • Around 40 per cent of budding entrepreneurs and 75 per cent of existing business owners need or needed less than $50,000 to get their business off the ground
  • Over 1 in 3 aspirational and existing business owners would be keen to be part of “community” of other entrepreneurs

 

The NAB’s Executive General Manager for Micro and Small Business Leigh O’Neill said a healthy start-up sector is critical to fostering a new wave of growth for the Australian economy.

 

“Small businesses are so important to creating future jobs and economic growth, and understanding their motivations and needs means we can help support the right ecosystems for growth,” Ms O’Neill said.

 

“We’ve got a huge community of budding entrepreneurs eager to get their ideas off the ground, and it’s clear that they need more than money.”

 

The release of the research coincides with the launch of NAB Startup, a service that allows aspiring small business owners to become operational quickly, with guidance on setting up an ABN, ACN, business and domain name registrations, as well as website creation and invoicing functionality.

 

“We see plenty of small business owners juggling full time jobs while setting up their new ventures.

 

 

“They have huge amounts of excitement and energy, but very little time, so they need things to be simple, quick and connected,” said Ms O’Neill.

 

“Services like NAB Startup, our new unsecured $50,000 QuickBiz Loan and digital marketplace for small business Proquo, help entrepreneurs get their business ideas off the ground more quickly and connect with other small businesses.”

 

The full survey ‘The Lure of Entrepreneurship – Australia’s Start-up Culture’  in available at www.news.nab.com.au.

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Alan Thornhill is a parliamentary press gallery journalist.
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