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Australians Are Jaded, but Kiwis Still Love a Bargain

Australians Are Jaded, but Kiwis Still Love a Bargain

Unlike their Australian counterparts, who are becoming immune to retail promotional sales and discounting, New Zealand shoppers still enjoy finding a good deal.

According to research conducted by BRW and AMP Capital Shopping Centres in Australia, retailers across the Tasman are facing an uncertain future as shoppers increasingly regard ‘sales and discounting’ as a way of life – but the picture is a bit rosier for their New Zealand counterparts.

The Business of Retail 2011 Report from BRW and AMP Capital Shopping Centres found increasing retailer pessimism in the face of consumer sales fatigue, a high Australian dollar, economic uncertainty and the declining effects of the Australian Government’s stimulus package.

In response to the Australian study, New Zealand Retailers Association spokesman Barry Hellberg says that even though the local retail environment is flat, good quality and good prices still attract those earning “reasonable” incomes.

“There are bright lights out there. If you look at some well-known stores, they have a particular bargain every weekend and that still works for them. Rural retail is also doing well.

“Customer service and brand identity continue to be extremely important and many New Zealand retailers do that activity very well.”

The Australian study found that retailers there are pessimistic, with 16% citing the retail spending downturn, 24% naming economic uncertainty, and 19% pointing to increasing costs as a reason for their mood.

Botany Town Centre Senior Marketing Manager Desiree Clark agrees that New Zealand retail is slightly more optimistic.

“New Zealand hasn’t suffered from the massive discounting and sales culture of the United States and Australia, although that trend is now starting to gather momentum.

“Unlike the Aussies, we have the Rugby World Cup 2011 to look forward to which will give our retail environment a much needed boost. We encourage our retailers to make the most of the influx of visitors and maximize on this opportunity.”

The Business of Retail 2011 Report from BRW and AMP Capital Shopping Centres also found that just 2.2% of Australian retailers were giving serious consideration to online development.

Tim Guy, director of Boardertown at Botany Town Centre, says that having an online presence is critical to the future development of his business. “It is a necessity to have an online presence that keeps evolving. Just as a physical store needs to be re-merchandised, this is also true for the web. While the financial gains may be small initially, the investment is worthwhile given the potential of online to act as an advertising medium for your product range.”

The Australian study pre-empted recent figures here which show that while New Zealanders aren’t spending as much as in the past, the economy is experiencing a gradual recovery.

Mark Cooper, owner of The Athlete’s Foot at Botany Town Centre, says although the market is gradually turning, the majority of New Zealand retailers are still playing the discounting hand and sacrificing margin to keep their doors open.

“I believe the retailers that are service-orientated and that have survived the last two years will still be here in two years, but the discounters will find it harder because they have set up an expectation for the shopper that they will be offered a bargain every time.”

For more information on the The Business of Retail 2011 Report, visit http://www.businessofretail.com.au

ENDS

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