The businesses bucking the retail recession

Last week I wrote about the changing buyer behaviours that are leading a downturn for Australia’s retailers.

This week we’re going to talk about some retailers bucking the trend – and you might be surprised about who has come out on top this reporting season.

One big surprise-packet is JB Hifi. They’ve reported 7.1% growth in the face of stiff competition from online retailers, an all-time high.

The others ticking along nicely are Coles and Woolies, the duopoly everybody loves to hate, but still shops there anyway.

Why are these big businesses going so nicely? I see three possible explanations:

1. Big budgets. They say you’ve got to spend money to make money, and if you can afford to plaster the entire world (TV, radio, online, social media) with ads about your ridiculous Little Shop toys, you’re also likely to reap the rewards.

2. Clever investment. In the case of JB Hifi, they bought a distressed asset in The Good Guys and turned it around with TGG reporting 4% growth. Kogan has trod a similar path by purchasing Dick Smith Electronics’ database (only) and turning it into an 11% windfall.

3. Tax refunds. The 2018-19 financial year has seen a record number of tax returns submitted by Australians, the majority of which have resulted in a refund. This, coupled with the up-tick in the property market following the federal election, has seen Australians feeling a little richer and more willing to spend that cash.


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