Business stories of interest this week

Business stories from the past week, compiled by Jason Maywald:

1. New app sorts shopping dilemma 

If you’ve ever found yourself lusting over an outfit you saw online or in real life, and wished you could track it down instantly, you’re in luck.

Online clothing juggernaut The Iconic is about to change the way we shop, thanks to its new “Snap to Shop” app feature.

It has been described as “Shazam for clothes” and it is the first of its kind in the country.


2. Retailers shouldn’t be relieved, Amazon is still coming 

It sure was an inauspicious start to Australia’s retail revolution. Cyclone Amazon didn’t flood the market with incredible discounts, didn’t blow over shoppers with its range of products, or smash competitors with its availability and delivery times.

But it did deliver one thing – a false sense of security that its rivals are safe, and so are their shareholders.


3. Amazon moves into Australian territory

Amazon quietly began operations in Australia on Tuesday, the start of what could be a shake-up of that country’s retail market, which is worth hundreds of billions of dollars.

For Australian businesses, Amazon’s international expansion — which now includes more than a dozen countries — has brought with it hasty pivots and familiar feelings of enthusiasm, doubt and existential dread.

But people who posted on social media about Amazon’s debut were generally underwhelmed, with prospective Australian customers playfully pointing out lackluster product offerings and uncompetitive pricing.


4. Real Christmas sales start today

Don’t expect everyone to be hard at work today — except when it comes to their Christmas shopping.

Monday has been tipped to be the busiest online shopping day of the year in Australia and the hour following lunch will be the peak time to find gifts via a computer screen, according to new eBay research.

But while the Australian Retailers Association, who predict Australian shoppers will purchase most of their gifts online this year, backed up eBay’s prediction, it also warned consumers to check delivery times to ensure their gifts arrived before the big day.


5.  Department stores set for decade long tumble

The number of bricks-and-mortar department stores will shrink by 26 per cent over the next 10 years, Morningstar predicts, singling out Wesfarmers’ Kmart as the best prepared for the decade ahead.

Bricks-and-mortar sales will decrease by 2 per cent a year over the next decade, resulting in 26 per cent fewer physical department stores by 2027, the research house finds, in a report by analyst Johannes Faul.

The report finds a continued decrease in the relevance of department stores will reduce the sector’s share of the broader retail market to just 4.4 per cent by 2026-27 from 6 per cent this year.