More foreign brands expected Down Under

Petrina Berry
(Australian Associated Press)

Shoppers can expect more big name international retailers to come to Australia thanks to the country’s strong economy.

The arrival of UK department stores John Lewis and Debenhams, French leisure goods retailer Decathlon and American retailer The TJX companies means 39 of the world’s top 250 retailers operate in Australia, according to financial services firm Deloitte.

Relatively strong economic conditions, high consumer demand for international brands and proximity to Asia will attract even more overseas players, Deloitte retail, wholesale and distribution group leader David White said.

While Australia is not a huge market for the likes of John Lewis and Debenhams, Deloitte said it provides an opportunity to expand into a stable market on a relatively small scale.

“We can expect more new global retailers to bring their operations to our shores in 2017,” Mr White said.

“New entrants, coupled with the threat of Amazon, should make for another fascinating year for Australian retail.”

Amazon is widely expected to launch its general merchandise and fresh food e-commerce business in Melbourne in September 2017.

Mr White said that 16 per cent of the top 250 international retailers operate in Australia, with US-based businesses making up nearly 50 per cent of that total.

He said local retailers were investing more in their store design and concept, and creating flagship stores to combat hip foreign brands such as Uniqlo and H&M.

“New entrants will find Australian retailers better prepared and skilled to take on this new challenge compared to five years ago,” Mr White said.

Deloitte’s latest Global Powers of Retailing report, based on publicly available data, also said that more Australian retailers began expanding into the US, Europe and Asia Pacific during 2016 compared to previous years, although the numbers were still relatively small.

The report said that, with competition close to saturation in certain categories in Australia, more local retailers were expected to try their luck overseas in 2017.

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