A glance at Retail in Australia, India and Dubai


In Australia, the Retail Trade division comprises of three main categories: food, personal and household goods and motor vehicles. The recent introduction of online retailing has broadened the medium of sale for operators. It is important to note that businesses who operate as cafes, restaurants, hotels and motels are excluded from this division. Business engaged in retail trade include department stores or other hops, motor vehicle retailers and service outlets, stalls, mail order houses, hawkers, door-to-door sellers, milk vendors, vending, vending machine operators and consumer co-operatives. Units mainly selling goods on a commission basis to final consumers for personal or household consumption are included.

The Australian retail is mature and saturated. Coles Myer dominates the retail scene, closely followed by Woolworth’s and Met cash trading. While the government’s policy has also been to welcome foreign investment into the country, it has ensured regulation of the business by way of creating the necessary legislation. Some of these legislations include:

1) Administering the shopping hours
2) The price Surveillance Act, which came into force in 1983. Under the aegis of this act, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has the responsibility for administering the act and the power to vet proposed price rises of businesses under price surveillances to inquire into pricing practices and to monitor prices, costs and profits of businesses.
3) The Trade Practices Act, which is a Commonwealth Act, is also administered by the ACCC. The act encompasses many areas including anti-competitive agreements, exclusive dealing price discrimination resale price maintenance and the abuser of market power by firms with a substantial degree of market share.

Middle East Asia>>>

It is interesting to note that a region with as extreme a climate as the Middle East has emerged as a shopping destination in the world. With an estimated number of sixty thousand shoppers every day and nearly $2 billion in investments, the stakes are high for retail in Dubai. The past seven years have been a 200 per cent growth in capacity and a total investment of nearly $ 1 billion. The next three years will see capacity more than double and additional investment of at least 3 billion dirhams ($900 million) in the UAE alone.

The Al Ghurair shopping mall was revolutionary when it opened in 1981. It marked the beginning of a trend that changed the face of retail business, not just in Dubai but in the entire Middle East. Dubai, like the South East Asian region, is an important tourist- shopping destination. The malls in Dubai together organize an annual month long festival called the Dubai Shopping Festival to bring more visitors to the region. The combined marketing effort creates more impact and visibility for the stores across the world.

A survey by Retail International found that 10 countries in the Middle East hared 4.4 million square meters of shopping space, and a fresh supply of 2.2 million square meters is still in the pipeline, which would take the total space available to over 6.5 million square meters in three years. Retail International predicts that the growth in Dubai will continue until the year 2025, even if the growth rates start to sap after 2005.

Thus, retail in Asian economies continues to be a mix of traditional and modern formats. The growth of the Asian economies in recent times has given birth to a better educated, better traveled, more informed and more demanding middle class. The shift in the share of trade is now becoming evident. In North Asia, nearly two thirds of all grocery sales are now made through the modern trade. Over the last three years, there has been a near 10 per cent shift in business away from the traditional trade, led by the continued rapid development of the market in China. In India, there are now over 2,400 supermarkets which account for 10 percent of the total grocery sales within the 28 urban towns modern trade.

Conspicuous consumption has often touted as a hallmark of Asian societies. Consumers in Asia are more concerned with value and have knowledge resources to carefully evaluate the price quality trade offs among a set of product offerings. The consequence is that there exists a very large segment below the upper income tier of the population, which carefully trades off price against quality. A well known global brand name is no longer a guarantee of success in Asia.

Across Asia, the hypermarket and the convenience store format is seen as the fastest moving and dominant format. It is also clear that development of infrastructure and government regulations are the key for development of trade in the region. Norms on entry into the trade exist in almost every country. The development of modern trade has not really affected the total number of traditional grocery stores across Asia Pacific and their number has remained steady at 11.4 million. While international retailers have been successful in the region, local also continue to dominate in key market. The eventual differentiating factor emerges as the product, its price, the service and the ability of the retailer to control costs by controlling procurement and distribution costs.