The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has released a new bulletin article, entitled Competition and Profit Margins in the Retail Trade Sector, which notes that retail is one of the softest sectors in Australia and effectively pins the blame for Australia’s weakening retail sales on bargain hunting by consumers:
The retail sector has undergone significant structural change since the early 2000s, including the rise of online shopping and the entrance of new international firms into the market. Firms suggest these changes have increased competitive pressures and that, in response, they have had to adjust their pricing behaviour to compete for sales and market share. While firms in other industries also report changes in the level of competition over time due to similar factors, liaison has identified the retail sector as being particularly affected. Survey-based measures also suggest that business conditions in the retail sector have been weaker than other industries in recent years (Graph 1).
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