Small businesses face outsourcing dilemma


Chris Zappone The outsourcing of huge sectors of the Australian workforce has becoming an increasingly difficult problem to tackle as companies look to cut costs and maximise profits.


Australian fashion raises the barbell


Michael Baker In his mid-80s classic hit You Can Call Me Al, Paul Simon sings about a man walking down the street asking himself: “Why am I soft in the middle? The rest of my life is so hard.”

Forget coupons, social gifting is the new top dog


Last year, the buzzword in e-commerce was Groupon Inc and its myriad of competitors that offered daily online coupons to entice shoppers in a down economy.

How much is mum worth? $60 apparently

mother's day card

Eli Greenblat Australian sons and daughters will spend an estimated $1.36 billion this week to show how much they love their mums, with per capita spending for Mother’s Day expected to rise 3.

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Independent retail growing again

AFR photo

Michael Baker The independent retail sector continued to steady in March at trading levels well above those experienced during the last Christmas shopping season.

Michael Baker

Fast fashion: barracudas make way for the sharks


Michael Baker A new report on the impending entry of global fashion retailers into Australia will not make pleasant fireside reading for many domestic retailers this winter.

Full-time employment surges in May

A jump in the number of new jobs has failed to stop a spike in the unemployment rate to 5.1 per cent, as more people joined the labour force and began looking for employment.


The top 5 cities for retail inspiration

Get inspired.

Michael Baker It's important to seek ideas outside the island occasionally. Here's where you can get the best bang for your educational buck.

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Small business sales up but retail remains weak

Small business sales increased in May, but retail continued to suffer the weakest growth of all sectors.

Welcome in the middle


Clancy Yeates Confidence among medium-size companies has edged up in recent months, and the sector continues to remain more optimistic than big and small business, a new report says.


Taking on the world of fast fashion

Elaine Briggs.

Michael Baker On the eve of a fast fashion revolution in Australia, there are many who are decidedly unimpressed.

Cashing in on a payment revolution


Christopher Niesche When it comes to collecting money from customers, cafes have traditionally been low-tech – a couple of gold coins for a coffee, maybe a card payment for a bigger order.

Mobile shoppers put on an appy face

Melissa Kent Fashion stores are embracing the 'bricks and clicks' phenomenon, as more Melburnians use their phones to shop.

Lack of professionals ahead

Workplace bands have forced the closure of almost 1000 beds.

Kelly Burke Trends predict Australia will face serious shortages in the health, education and engineering.

Small business sales beat expectations


Sales by small businesses over the all-important Christmas period were better than expected, with mineral-rich WA leading the way.

We're so vain, as thousands of Aussies go under knife

Aussies are spending big on Botox.

New research shows Aussies are expected to spend almost 20 per cent more this year on looking good.

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Tills quiet at department stores

While retail figures are on the improve, spending in department stores is on the slide.

Clancy Yeates Spending at department stores slumps to its lowest in two years, as spending on food and cafes jumps.

10 shops with a difference

Deyrolle taxidermy shop in France.

A travel website has compiled a list of the world's weirdest places to part with your cash.

Michael Baker

Catering for retail's golden oldies

Meeting the needs of an ageing population.

Michael Baker Slow check-out lanes, reclining armchairs and lower store shelves: how retailers are tackling the ageing population.

Big rise in business failure rate

Immigration cuts have contributed to the decline in retail sales.

Clancy Yeates The number of corporate insolvencies has surged to its highest level in more than a decade.