Business stories of interest this week

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

1. Radical change needed to save in peril Myer department store 

The Friday before last, Myer’s now former chief executive Richard Umbers stood at the top of a staircase in the company’s flagship Sydney CBD store.

Music blasted from speakers, dancers twirled around him and bright ticker tape burst from the skies as the retailer announced a deal to sponsor the city’s Mardi Gras festival.

Amid the excitement and colour, Mr Umbers might have gazed down at all he was custodian of — a 117-year-old Australian retail icon with an annual revenue of more than $3 billion.

It was one of his last public appearances while in charge. Less than a fortnight later, with far less fanfare, Mr Umbers was gone.


2. Domain chairman says company in great shape 

Domain executive chairman Nick Falloon says the real estate classifieds company is in “great shape”, despite a fall in profit and allegations of bad behaviour in the workplace.

The newly-listed business remains without a chief executive after Antony Catalano’s surprise resignation in January which led to the appointment of Mr Falloon who is also chairman of major shareholder Fairfax Media.


3. Menulog looking for Australia’s best eater

Get ready to quit your day job, because online food delivery service Menulog is on the hunt for a professional eater.

The company has paired up with outsourcing platform Airtasker and is looking for “Australia’s best eater” to tackle Menulog’s “toughest food challenges”.

“Love your grub? Finish food faster than your friends? Then we want you!” the job ad states.

“We’ll fly Australia’s ultimate food tasker to each Menulog restaurant across the country, where you will partake in each challenge, ranking them in order from difficult to bloody impossible.”


4. QLD to develop world first energy Big data system to cut power bills

The University of Queensland is creating a ‘Big Data’ platform with artificial intelligenc that can use information from millions of homes to control energy usage and drive down electricity costs.

Researchers at UQ’s School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering are building a system that can provide real-time analysis and manage household energy on a massive scale.


5. How the rise of robots can boost your investment returns

THEY won’t be taking over the world with Terminators, but robots are seizing a growing slice of investment portfolios everywhere.

Injecting some of your money into robotics is increasingly being seen as a strategy to avoid missing out on the next big boom, and investors’ money is flowing into the sector.

Investment specialists say buying individual robotics shares is tricky because almost all are based overseas, the sector and its competitors are changing rapidly, and volatility is high.