The big question for Woolies

Woolworths' senior executive team will front investors on Wednesday to outline their growth plans.

Malcolm Maiden 1:44 PM   Woolworths' Grant O'Brien and Brad Banducci know that there's a big question they can't answer today.

Woolworths sales slump, CEO admits 'still much to do'

"There is still much to do." Woolworths chief Grant O'Brien.

Madeleine Heffernan 1:16 PM   Woolworths CEO says there is "still much to do" to improve flagship food and liquor business while petrol sales also weigh on comapny.

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Billabong chooses NetSuite for new global omni-channel platform

Billabong chief executive Neil Fiske says developing an integrated online and bricks and mortar strategy is key to the retailer's  turnaround.

Sue Mitchell 1:01 PM   Surf and skate wear retailer Billabong International has signed a deal with cloud-based software supplier NetSuite Inc to implement a new global omnichannel platform.

Retail sales edge up 0.3 per cent in March

Food retailing revenue rose 0.4 per cent, the data shows.

Gareth Hutchens 12:03 PM   Retail sales rose 0.3 per cent in March, slowing from 0.7 per cent growth in February.

Wesfarmers in first $A bond issue in two years

Coles owner Wesfarmers is marketing $300m of 5-1/2 year fixed-rate bonds.

Benjamin Purvis 11:55 AM   Wesfarmers, owner of Australia's Coles supermarket chain, is offering its first unsecured domestic bond in more than two years.

The McDonald's of the Future Australia?

The possibilities are endless with McDonald's' new build your own burger concept.

Angus Whitley 8:12 AM   At the McDonald's restaurant in Martin Place in downtown Sydney, building your own gourmet burger is just like withdrawing cash from an automatic teller machine.

Myer to shut Top Ryde store

Myer was a key part of the Top Ryde redevelopment.

Sue Mitchell 8:37 PM   It was one of the first new department stores opened by Myer after its $2.3 billion float in 2009. Now Myer's Top Ryde store could be the first of as many as 20 stores earmarked for closure.

Retailers targeted in exploitation claims

Four Corners said crime syndicates and unscrupulous labour hire contractors were exploiting Australia's 417 working holiday visa system.

Madeleine Heffernan 8:18 PM   The workplace watchdog says the top executives of companies whose suppliers are underpaying or mistreating their staff are in its sights.

Wesfarmers laments GFC raisings

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 04:  Wesfarmers CEO Richard Goyder speaks at the Australian Shareholders Association conference at Crown Entertainment Complex on May 4, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Pat Scala/Fairfax Media) *** Local Caption *** Richard Goyder

Madeleine Heffernan 3:36 PM   "With perfect 20-20 hindsight we wouldn't have done it," Wesfarmers boss Richard Goyder says.

Woolworths urged to adopt long term solution rather than quick fix

Long-term solutions needed not quick fixes for Woolworths.

Sue Mitchell   Woolworths has been urged to adopt long-term strategies rather than quick fixes to reinvigorate sales

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Wesfarmers takes charge of Coles credit card business


Madeleine Heffernan   Agreement believed to be the first time an Australian supermarket will fund its own financial services operation.

Fraction of faulty cables fixed: ACCC

Consumers should contact a licensed electrician for a safety inspection to determine if Infinity cables were installed.

Madeleine Heffernan   About 4000 kilometres of faulty cable supplied by Infinity Cable Co could pose a "serious risk" from next year.

Red Bull's wings clipped as profit drops

red bull

Simon Evans   The Australian arm of energy drinks company Red Bull has suffered another drop in profit in a fiercely competitive market and taken the knife to the dividends it is paying to its Austrian parent company.

The death of the barcode

A new generation of chipless RFID tags developed by Monash University researchers could transform retailing.

Esther Han    Imagine filling up your trolley with groceries and simply rolling out the door. Monash researchers have created a superior RFID tag, potentially turning this dream into a reality.

Shoppies union pay Coles and Woolworths millions to boost membership

National SDA president Joe de Bruyn insists that they agreed "absolutely" with the union leadership on same sex marriage.

Ben Schneiders and Royce Millar   Australia’s biggest private-sector union pays major employers including Coles and Woolworths up to $5 million a year in commissions that help maintain its large membership, and influence in the ALP.

Woolies ads don't come cheap, cheap

"Just because you spend more doesn't necessarily mean your campaign is more effective. The hardest part is getting your creative right": Ben Willee of Spinach Advertising.

Madeleine Heffernan   The supermarket wars have pushed two of Australia's big advertisers in different directions, with No. 1 supermarket Woolworths revving up its spending while Coles winds its down.

Aldi, Costco will squeeze small stores, says Wesfarmers

Coles supermarket - Wesfarmers

Madeleine Heffernan   The owner of Coles says smaller stores are feeling the squeeze from the growth of Aldi and Costco.

Wesfarmers success already priced in

Malcolm Maiden.

Malcolm Maiden   Investors might be underplaying Woolies' potential to hit back at it Wesfarmers competition.

Wesfarmers keeps up pressure on Woolworths

Coles' food and grocery sales rose 4.5 per cent on a same-store basis.

Sue Mitchell   Wesfarmers has underscored the challenge ahead for Woolworths, taking share from its rival in supermarkets, home improvement and department stores in the March quarter and vowing to undercut rivals on key grocery products, setting the scene for an all-out price war that analysts fear could damage profit margins across the sector.

Bunnings stars as Target falters

Bunnings recorded same-store growth of 9.4 per cent.

Madeleine Heffernan   Coles growth weakest in a year, as deflation takes its toll.

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Woolies, DJS face baby-boomer, millennial challenge

Big Australian department store chains David Jones and Woolworths must think twice before rejigging their customer loyalty programs, a UK expert says.

Sue Mitchell   As Woolworths and David Jones prepare to rejig their customer loyalty programs, former Selfridges executive Ruth Harrison warns against a one-size-fits all approach.

Banking & Wealth Summit

Murray says Woolies, Coles can boost business loans

David Murray argues big supermarkets strong cash flow could be used to fund loans to business

Shaun Drummond   Financial system inquiry head David Murray wants more competition in business lending and argues supermarkets could easily provide it.

Investors wary ahead of Woolworths briefing

JP Morgan has tipped Woolworths' same-store sales to grow by 0.9 per cent in the third quarter.

Madeleine Heffernan   Food and liquor margins will not be defendable in time, says senior research analyst.

Supermarket pay deals imminent

Employee pay deal on way: Coles managing director John Durkan.

Madeleine Heffernan   Pay deals across Australia's big two supermarkets, Woolworths and Coles, are expected to be signed off soon, setting the scene for further agreements across the retail sector.

ACCC rejects supermarket claims effects test will hurt shoppers

Rod Sims, head of the ACCC, spoke at the International Chamber of Commerce's roundtable on competition policy in Sydney.

Esther Han   Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims has rejected supermarket claims that shoppers will be charged higher prices under proposed rule changes.

Metcash distribution centre damaged by hailstorm

Metcash chief Ian Morrice says there may be delivery delays due to hail damage to the company's Huntingwood distribution centre.

Sue Mitchell   Lightning may not strike twice, but hail storms are another matter. Food and liquor wholesaler Metcash has temporarily closed part of its largest warehouse in Sydney, delaying grocery deliveries to independent supermarkets, after it was severely damaged in a freak hail storm on Saturday.

Bayer says strong brands stop Woolies, Coles dominance

Bayer, the maker of Berocca, Aspro Clear and  other well-known brands says the best way to get  equilibrium into negotiations with Coles and Woolworths is to have strong brands.

Simon Evans   The new chief executive of Bayer Australasia's $1.1 billion healthcare, pharmaceuticals and crop sciences business says the future of pharmacies could be endangered if the sector is deregulated as a part of the Harper competition review.

Covergirl, Gillette maker boosts profit

It won't happen overnight – Rachel Hunter was an early model for Pantene shampoo.

Madeleine Heffernan   Procter & Gamble Australia posted an improved profit in 2014 despite a dip in revenue.

Coles' Every Day Value strategy to come under scrutiny

Analysts believe same-store food and liquor sales growth at Coles slowed from 4 per cent in the December quarter to 3.8 per cent or 3.9 per cent in the three months ending March.

Sue Mitchell   Coles' decision to shift towards every-day-low pricing will be put to the test this week, when the food and liquor chain releases its first quarterly results since adopting a hybrid promotional strategy late last year.

Diet Pepsi dumps aspartame as consumer backlash hurts sales

The rising worry over aspartame coincides with a surge in demand for natural ingredients.

Duane D. Stanford   PepsiCo will start selling Diet Pepsi without aspartame later this year, the biggest change to the beverage in three decades, after a consumer backlash against the artificial sweetener crushed sales.