Opinion

Woolies' Dick Smith sale reveals retail online horizons

Brett Kitching
Brett Kitching

MUCH has been written this year about the plight of retailers, and how online sales have eaten into their turnover in recent years. However, as has traditionally been the case, December is the time of the year still that retailers look forward to as Christmas shoppers come out in force.

The sale by Woolworths of the Dick Smith business a couple of months ago perhaps best highlights the plight of retailers. Woolworths purchased the Dick Smith operation around 30 years ago for $20 million. Several years ago the business had an estimated value in the hundreds of millions.

Two months ago Woolworths sold the electronics chain for the same amount it paid 30 years ago - $20m, in the process realising a massive loss in real dollar terms.

To further highlight changing trends in retail, the organisation which bought the Dick Smith franchise did so with a business plan to markedly increase online sales - hence moving the organisation from the traditional retailer to an online retailer.

While online sales organisations have had a strong run over the past couple of years with turnover multiplying by year, a downside of online sales was highlighted last week.

It has been reported that a hacking group by the name of "Anonymous" targeted companies in a campaign called "operation payback", from a UK base between August 2010 and January last year.

The damage done by this group amounted to a loss on just the Pay Pal Company, of $5.6m which included a loss of turnover and costs to implement software and hardware upgrades.

Combine lower consumer confidence and tighter household budgets with the expanding online segment, and it is easy to understand why retailers have struggled in 2012.

However, the next month is the time of the year that retailers look forward to as the traditional Christmas and post-Christmas rushes take place. A good example is the report released from the Western Australia Chamber of Commerce last week noting an 8% increase in retail sales is expected.

The report recognised the difficulties faced by retailers, but noted that excellent customer service is the way to maintain a foothold in the increasingly difficult retail sector.

Upcoming events

IPSWICH Chamber of Commerce & Industry AGM followed by our final Networking After 5 for 2012, Tuesday, December 4, Ipswich Club at 5pm. Members free. RSVP by November 30.

Bookings are essential for all events. Inquiries phone 3282 8688 or admin@ipswichchamber.org.au.

Topics:  better business, brett kitching, online sales, opinion, retailers



Former minister claims he voluntarily stopped abusing boy

Retired Uniting Church Minister Barry Dangerfield (right) arrives at Brisbane District Court.

Barry Dangerfield charged with multiple counts of indecent dealing

Iconic Ipswich pub now number one in Queensland

PA Hotel owners Mary-Anne and Clive Johnson are pleased to have been awarded the Queensland Hotels Association 2016 Hotel of the Year.

It's official - Ipswich is home to the best pub in Queensland

Emotional farewell for AWLQ volunteers and staff

AWLQ CEO Denise Bradley farewells a long-serving volunteer at the West Ipswich facility on Friday.

The AWLQ has left the building. So what's next?

Local Partners

Lady Gaga confirms Super Bowl show

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga to perform in coveted spot

Girls actors give emotional tributes to hit show

Actor Allison Williams

Actors farewell smash hit HBO show Girls after six seasons

Janet Jackson's pregnancy is 'best thing'

Janet Jackson

Janet Jackson can't wait to become a mum

Jay Z signs two-year movie and TV deal

Rapper Jay Z

Rapper Jay Z has signed a television and movie deal

Nowhere to Hyde: Matt Nable is Australia's man in demand

Matt Nable stars as Detective Gary Hyde in the TV series Hyde & Seek.

NABLE returns to the small screen amidst busy film work.

Things to do around Ipswich this weekend

The Ipswich Orchid Society Garden Spectacular is this weekend.

Things to do around Ipswich

Beach-side real estate starts at $85k on Fraser Coast

HERVEY BAY REAL ESTATE: You can buy this townhouse in Scarness for under $300k.

Live your beach-living dream locally.

$40million hotel, shops development project for Mackay

Mt Pleasant hotel and retirement accommodation, proposed at 194-202 Malcomson St.

$40m development to take Mackay to 'the next level'

Housing report points to a lift in local market

AFFORDABLE HOMES: First home buyers have the opportunity to purchase modern new homes in the Ipswich region for under $400,000.

Region shaping up as the "final frontier” for affordable housing

Five ways to slash household bills and save the environment

THINK GREEN: Considering the environment when building or buying your next home can save you big dollars. The Village Building Company, who is responsible for Woodlinks Village at Collingwood Park, builds homes with this front of mind.

THERE is nothing as sweet as slashing dollars from your bills.

Investors out-bid first-home buyers in booming market

Housing generic.

Ipswich's housing market is putting more cash into sellers’ pockets