With brick and mortar sales plummeting to the worst level since the 1990 recession, retail experts warn that they may be forced to close 170 stores across the county in the coming year.
Dr Queensland University of Technology retail expert Gary Mortimer said the so-called retail apocalypse has left hundreds of jobs hanging in the balance.
“Job losses are worrying. We have 170 dealers planning to close just two weeks in January of this year,” he told Today.
Dr Mortimer said the biggest problem was with retailers not responding adequately to market changes.
“We have seen many market changes in Australia over the past decade, with global fashion retailers entering the market base and Aldi almost 20 years ago,” he said.
“We have consumer changes and too much choice on the market.”
Dr Mortimer says brick and mortar retailers – especially department stores like Myer and David Jones – have lost their relevance by focusing too much on discounts to fight online shopping.
“In the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, the department store formats were fantastic. We would have gone there to buy stationery, stationery and clothing.
“Now we go to the killer category like Officeworks. Here we have global fashion retailers like Zara and H&M where we buy our clothes. There is no reason to enter department stores.”
Dr Mortimer added that giants such as Amazon and Aldi were making the operation of small businesses increasingly difficult.
“If you run a competitive retail business, you need to have a great online presence,” he said.
“The brick and mortar shop is more difficult. You have to pay the staff and the rent and you have to try to recover those costs at the price point that everyone agrees.”
While traditional fashion stores feel the weight of the retail apocalypse, dr. Mortimer said there were some positive aspects.
“I look at Coles and he has opened 140 smaller size stores. There are certainly retail sectors that are doing well. The works will obviously move on to those categories,” he said.
RETAIL STORES AFFECTED IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS
Curious planet: The science shop, formerly known as Australian Geographic, will close 63 stores.
Napoleon Perdis: The beauty product retailer entered the voluntary administration, with stores closed across the country.
Criniti restaurant: The popular restaurant chain has entered voluntary administration, with the closure of some of the 13 sites across the country.
Bardot: The women’s fashion retailer will close the vast majority of its stores in the coming months. 530 jobs will be lost.
McWilliams Wines: The sixth largest winery in the country has appointed volunteer administrators. It had been run by the same family for over 140 years.
EB Games: Video game retailer that closes at least 19 stores in “unprofitable” locations nationwide.
Red Rooster: Seven Queensland stores closed in October 2019, leaving 100 employees out of work.
Ed Harry: The men’s clothing retailer entered voluntary administration and closed all 87 stores across the country.
Harris Scarfe: Australian department store put into voluntary administration in mid-December.
Karen Millen: British fashion giant that closes all Australian stores, leaving 80 people out of work.
Zanui: The popular furniture and household goods company has entered voluntary administration.
Muscular trainerLeading fitness company took on a voluntary administration after the company racked up debts of nearly $ 1 million.
Dimmeys: The discounter has definitively closed its doors after 166 years of negotiations.