Tuesday, 25 June 2013






WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR THE AUSSIE CONSUMER? 


The weakening aussie dollar means tougher times for the average consumer.We have been enjoying the fruits of a high aussie dollar for some time now while our manufacturing sector and exporters have been suffering to the point of near extinction.Ford is closing its manufacturing in Australia in 2016 which in turn effects those companies that supply Ford with its products such as the metals,bolts,machinery etc.This is just one example of many who have suffered in part at the hands of the high Aussie dollar.Many retailers have been forced to consolidate their businesses in order to continue trading as more and more consumers purchased online from retailers overseas.Big names such as ASOS and Topshop have profited from the Australian market which has seen our hard earned money go straight into overseas ecomonies.As a consumer we have had lower petrol prices (although there is debate on this one) and more buying power with our dollar.Well get ready to hop on the rollercoaster as it could be a bumpy ride.No-one can 100% predict if the dollar will continue to fall but rest assured you will see increased prices on petrol,food,clothing and electricals.We ourselves have already been burned by the falling dollar.As stock that has has been order 6-12 months in advance starts landing on our shores, and suppliers request their payments, the price will almost immediately take effect in some industries.Not only will the prices have  increased but the cost of freight.Most products imported are paid for in US dollars and the so the rate of exchange will be a double blow.Some in the retail industry are saying the soft demand from consumers and strong competition will result in a slow price increase.I disagree.Retailers have been struggling for a long time on minimal margins in this country and I dont believe they will have enough room in their weak profits to absorb any increases.

There is an upside to the falling Aussie dollar however.Retailers in Australia will be on a more competitive playing field with online sales to overseas feeling the pinch.Consumers will be even more hesitant to part with their money and so will shop where their dollar goes the furthest.No longer will items purchased from overseas be as cheap as they have been once their currency has been converted.So hopefully this may mean more of our money stays on Australian shores in the hands of Australian businesses rather than supporting other ecomonies.
Its not only Australian retailers that will be breathing a sigh of relief, our export industry will welcome the reduced dollar particularly our wine industry.Tourism and manufacturing sectors will also benefit however it may be a little too late for some as mentioned earlier.

So all in all while it may be good for the ecomony it will hit the hip pocket of the average Australian.Look out for increased prices on petrol,clothing,whitegoods and electricals and overseas travel.Guess the Australian business world will be waiting with baited breath to see whether it will continue its decline or bounce back like last year.Wish I had a crystal ball...I would be RICH!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

I thought I would reblog about this particular question that every parent dreads :

IS SANTA REAL?

What a wonderful time of year for not only children but parents alike.Nothing brings more joy than watching out children's eyes light up with the mention of Santa Claus.The excitement is overwelming and contagious.This year however has been a little different with my eldest, who is only 7, now questioning whether Santa is real? This is an inevitable question that every parent must face at some time and an agonising one.How do you answer this one? Well I have been researching through the internet, which is a fabulous tool and have myself learnt interesting details about Santa, or St Nicholas that I myself didnt know.Some of this may help is answering this question for others.
Santa or St Nicholas, was born during the third century in the village of Patara.At the time the area was greek and is on the southern coast of Turkey.He was born of wealthy parents who raised him as a devout christian.Unfortunately they passed away from illness when he was young and so,in his strong christian beliefs, he spent his inheritance helping the poor,sick and needy.He was made the bishop of Myra, as a young man, and was known for his generosity,kindness and love of all others, including children.Many stories have been told of his kind deeds.
 One story tells of of a poor man with three daughters.In the earlier days, in order for a woman to marry, her father must provide the future husband with a dowry.The bigger the dowry the better chance she has of finding a good husband, who treated her well and provided for his family.Without the dowry, the woman would  be sold into slavery.Back to the story of the father with three daughters.Apparently it is written, three bags of gold mysteriously appeared on different occassions providing the father with the much needed dowries.The bags of gold were tossed through an open window and are said to have landed in stockings or shoes left by the fire to dry.Hence, children used to leave stockings or shoes out eagerly awaiting gifts from St Nicholas.
  I found a great read on santa.net.This quotation may help clear the fog around this difficult question.
"Today the magic of Santa Claus is not limited to any religion.The power of Santa's legend affects parents,grandparents and of course children alike all over the world."Santa" today is a international symbol of giving and helping the needy and deserving, and a symbol of help and generiosity.In this light he is truly magical and immortal..Rather than ask whether Santa Claus is real or not maybe we should be asking whether if what Santa Claus stands for is real or not? Kindness, unselfishness and generiosty to others.These virtues are certainly real and valuable"

References
Santa.net
St Nicholascentre.org

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Should the Govt impose the GST on purchases from Overseas?

GST or NO GST?   


This is the burning question currently.Should the government impose a GST on goods purchased for $1000.00 and under from overseas?
This has created hot debate depending on whether you are on the side of the consumer or on the side of the retailer.What I can tell you is retail, both Australian etail and Bricks and morter (B & M) stores are suffering.
Yes, etail stores are growing with some great success stories, however there are many others closing their doors due to the high level of competition and uneven playing field.B&M stores are suffering the most.This uneven playing field has been caused not just by the 10% GST imposed on goods purchased in Australia, but in large due to huge level of competition made possible by the internet and the global competition for our consumer dollar.
Stores, both etail and retail in previous years only had to compete with stores Australia-wide, now they have to compete world-wide which  brings into effect many other factors, cost of labour,Aussie dollar Vs US dollar,manufacturing costs etc.
Our mining boom has been great for our economy but this has helped drive up the aussie dollar.Whilst the aussie dollar remains high, cost of exports has increased and therefore exports are struggling to survive.However the cost of purchasing goods from overseas has come down, making purchases from overseas more attractive to the average consumer.In a day where each of us struggles to make our dollar stretch as far as we can, understandably we are going to shop where we can get the best price.
Many large overseas companies/stores have already worked out that Australia has one of the strongest economies in the world and so have restructured their websites and stores to cater to the Australian consumer.We are bombarded with flat rate postage advertising/ free postage to Australia.With the high Aussie dollar their prices are very attractive, coupled with minimal or free postage.Unfortunately retailers/etailers here are faced with expensive distribution costs.It can be more expensive to post an item from Sydney to Perth than it is to post an item from the UK to Sydney.Our high distribution costs alone make it a difficult for the retailers to compete.
Retailers/e-tailers are also faced with the higher cost of products.Due to our apparent "remote" location suppliers charge the Aussie supplier/wholesaler a higher price than our US/Asian counterparts.This is not only due to our location but also our population size.We do need to remember places like Asia and the US have a much bigger population and so demand for products are much higher.The price their wholesaler purchase the product for and the price our wholesaler pay is vastly different.
Branded products are even more expensive and many retailers I have noticed are reducing the amount of branded products they are offering.It is simply not viable in our current climate with such intense competition world-wide.Again the price on a product sold to an Australia wholesaler and a overseas wholesaler are vastly different.To counteract this some Australian retailers would purchase directly from the manufacturer overseas, known as parallel importing however this has recently been vetoed by a recent Federal court decision.Please see last blog titled Lonsdale Australia vs Paul's Retail Pty Ltd & Anor (Paul's Warehouse Group).What this does mean that the Australian retailer has no choice but to charge a higher price that what is offered overseas as our purchase costs are much higher.

By imposing GST component on overseas purchases, this will at least keep some of the money here in our economy.Whilst I do not believe it will deter Australian buyers as even with an increased 10% cost, many that I have spoken with have said whilst it is still cheaper to purchase overseas, they would continue to do so.However, this would mean from every purchase made under $1000.00 at least 10% would remain on Australian shores to benefit those living here.The additional revenue could be used to fund roads, housing, eduction etc. (this is obviously an ideal scenario). Currently Australians are sending all our of cash overseas and the only ones benefitting are the overseas business/stores.Each and every dollar you spend purchasing overseas is one less dollar in our Australian economy.This is food for thought.
 

Saturday, 6 October 2012

www.sportsmagic.com.au



Well our new warehouse and office is taking shape.This is such a relief as our old warehouse, which was primarily storage was busting at the seams.I am still unsure how we did fit all our stock in.We now have our desigated office space and we are looking forward to a new year.Whilst retail has struggled during the last 24 months internet sales have been steadily increasing.Whether you like it or hate it internet is the future and we all need to embrace the new technology and move forward.Avoiding it will only leave you lagging behind.Remember Kodak? How did such a huge worldwide company wind up bankrupt and cease to exist? They refused to look ahead and move with technology.Unfortunately businesses need to move with customer expectations and in an environment where we are all time poor, the internet can be a great tool in a busy lifestyle.I say tool as it can be a great timesaver and allows us all to have information at our fingertips anytime, anyplace, connect with anyone anywhere in the world, but be aware of it becoming your master and dominating your life.Use it to your advantage but put it into perspective.More often than not I find our customers love the convenience of the internet for their shopping or simply quering us regarding a product/s, however they are pleasantly surprised when they receive a phonecall regarding their delivery or product enquiry.These days most do not expect a person on the other end of a transaction or email and I have had many say to us they love the fact there is someone they can reach if they have a problem/concern or simply a question.This is just a small example of how both can work well.


Wednesday, 22 August 2012



The Campbelltown show is on again this year from the Friday the 31st August til Sunday September 02 2012.Friday is disability and carers day.

The day includes all the highlights of the show such as our animal nursery, reptile pit, rides, showbags, carnival food, stage entertainment, Eljay Bike Show and loads of exhibitors.
Entry is to the show is FREE on Carer’s Day from 9am to 3pm – normally $10, Bus and Car Parking is also FREE between 9am and 3pm on Friday.

Friday night there will be two family movies shown Happy Feet at 5.15pm followed by We Bought a Zoo at 6.30pm.At 8.30 the fireworks show which we all look forward to.

Saturday is Race Day, come and experience all the carnival activities and then watch the show go global with an actual Tabcorp Harness Race named after the Campbelltown Family Show and with each race a local Macarthur business. 

Sunday is Father's Day.A great way to spend the day with the family and enjoy the festivities

No matter what day you come you will have a great time.There are rides for the young and adrenaline enthusiasts, or pony rides and the animal nursery for the little ones.

Sportsmagic will be down at the show so pop in and say Hi.We will have a great range of products on show and you may find that last minute something for Dad.
 
  NB. For further information about Disability & Carers Day please contact Darryle Wilkie on 0410 467 420 or email darryle.wilkie@bigpond.com

For more information  CLICK HERE


Friday, 17 August 2012

      Lonsdale Australia vs Paul's Retail Pty Ltd & Anor (Paul's Warehouse Group)


The Federal court recently handed down a landmark decision regarding the importation of "parallel" products into Australia where in order to sell the products in the Australian marketplace the importer must have the permission of the registered trademark owner/s or risk violating Trade Marks Act.

Lonsdale Australia had discontinued selling to Paul's Warehouse and objected to Paul's warehouse importing and selling the European branded Lonsdale products ie the Lonsdale Branded clothing that was sold/selling throughout Europe as this infringed on their rights under the trademark act.

This is a very interesting case as although Paul's Warehouse had imported the product legitimately from Londale Sports German Licensee, the court decided that use of the Lonsdale trademark in Australia would require the Australian licensee's permission.As there are seperate trademark owners, those in Europe and those here in Australia, and consequently seperate supply chains and manufacturers, even though the products are bearing the same name, the onus was on Paul's Warehouse Group to prove they had the permission of Londale Australia to sell the product here in Australia.

This is a tricky and complicated case and unless you are very familar with Trademark laws as an importer you would probably have made the same mistake.This is the first decision of its kind that I am aware of in the retail sector.What does this mean?

Importers will now have to be very careful as to the products they purchase directly from overseas suppliers.If there is a trademark owner for that product here in Australia, the importer must request the permission of this owner prior to importing and selling the product here.Be under no illusion no Australian licensee is going to give an importer this permission as this would mean they lose the potential sales along with having to compete in the market with usually a similar product but at a cheaper price.What this means for the Australian consumers is prices will rise on branded products.

Have you been into the two dollar shops in your local shopping centre and bought the famous brand name toothpaste that is imported from Asia, or the washing powder with the same labelling but written in a different language? These could potentially be in breach of the trademark act and consequently importers will no longer be able to import the product or risk a hefty fine and lose of product by Customs.This will mean consumers will be forced to pay higher prices at the till.

Thursday, 19 July 2012



                               ARE YOU REALLY BUYING WHAT YOU THINK YOU ARE BUYING?


I watched with interest this week a story aired on Channel Seven about Smuggling.The show centres on the smuggling operations that exist at one of the largest ports on the English coast,which is one of the largest gateways to Europe and hence a very attractive option for the smugglers should they succeed in getting their items through.This week was of particular interest as the show was about a crime gang who were importing Nike shoes on a massive scale out of China.This gang was under survelliance for over 6 months and was estimated to have in excess of over 3 million dollars worth of counterfeit product in these latest shipments alone.Overall it was estimated they have imported 5-15 million dollars worth of counterfeit products over the last few years.It wasn't just restricted to Nike, they were importing Adidas,Armani,D&G, etc.
This is not an uncommon practice unfortunately and we as store owners/e-tailers are often faced with counterfeit products being sold, especially on auction forums such as ebay, along with international websites, which are littered with counterfeit product.Sometimes its nearly impossible to tell the difference between the real thing and the counterfeit product.Worse is customers are completely unaware they have purchased an inferior product.If the price seems to cheap, then its probably counterfeit.
As e-tailers we are constantly faced with ensuring we are selling a licensed and genuine product.I know of several horror stories where new businesses have purchased products via international wholesale companies, with the impression the products they were purchasing and onselling were the genuine brand.Unfortunately for them they werent and lost not only all their money as the products were seized, but lost their businesses as a result.At Sportsmagic we work hard to source product through the correct channels, the actual licensees who own the rights to distribute the product.This does take time, money and effort as there is more fake product,wholesale website selling counterfeit brands than there is legitimate.
This week Sportsmagic attended the online retailers expo.Interestingly I spoke with a representative of a major international wholesale company who advertise heavily on places like ebay promoting suppliers from Asia and India.I was enquiring as to some suppliers in China I was interested in speaking with.I was after some information as to the better suppliers who were able to offer genuine branded products.We are constantly looking to expand our product range.The representative went onto to explain that this wholesale site is great for non branded product however any branded product found will most certainly be fake.I was totally surprised as they advertise so heavily and there is never a mention that they have suppliers on there selling counterfeit items and yet here they were advertising themselves, knowing most of their suppliers, by their own admission, sell counterfeit and yet are still on their site still selling counterfeit product daily.
To avoid buying a fake, inferior product here are a few tips :

Be mindful when purchasing online, either websites and/or ebay products direct from Asia and India.There are select distribution channels used by Licensed Companies selling genuine product into Australia.

Do your homework? Is the item being offered look identical to the genuine product? Are there any anomolies?

Does the item appear cheap in price?

Is the item available in other colours other than what appears on the Australia websites/Brand's own website?

As a shopper it can be hard to tell the difference to the naked eye.Good rule of thumb would be if its seems too good to be true it probably is.