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Retail Panel: From Beychella to Woolies IT crash!

April 21, 2018

Every Thursday, our CEO Dominique Lamb and a panel of retail experts discuss retail’s hottest topics on ABC Radio. Below are some insights from last Thursday’s discussion.

Black Milk prepared for the effects of Beyonce’s Coachella performance

Black Milk is a Brisbane-based label that had humble beginnings in 2009 as James Lillis started sewing leggings on his kitchen table to make extra income. It was one of the first pure-play, online-only retailers in the Australian market.

Last week, Black Milk ‘Desert Queen’ one-pieces were worn by Beyonce’s back up dancers at Coachella – the biggest and most profitable music festival in the world. Coachella attracts A-list celebrities and about 250,000 people, pulling in around US $115 million in revenue.

Since being exposed to such a huge crowd, the pieces have been walking out the door. No doubt Black Milk had prepared their inventories for the inundation of orders after the iconic performance. A win for local business!

Coles and Woolworths corner fresh meat

Woolworths and Coles have taken their share of the fresh meat market past 50% for the first time, according to research firm Roy Morgan. Traditional butchers now hold only 24% of the market, compared with 32% 10 years ago.

Roy Morgan chief executive Michele Levine says the domination of Coles and Woolworths – driven by fierce price competition – has come at the butchers’ expense. “In the last 12 months, fresh meat market share for butchers and markets dropped 3%.”

Associate Professor Gary Mortimer (QUT Business School) believes we are seeing this shift due to the increase in prices for meat and decrease in consumer confidence. “Shoppers can’t always afford to buy a really nice premium eye fillet, they might have to go to Coles or Woolworths.”

The Woolworths IT crash cost how much?!

A technical glitch that left around 500 Woolworths stores and their attached BWS outlets unable to trade for more than 30 minutes on Monday afternoon may have cost the company up to $1million.

Could it have happened at a worse time? Peak hour, with the kids, just after the first school pick up for the term.

The Retail Panel agreed that the Woolworths staff handled it as best as possible, despite there being almost nothing they could do. Some shoppers were told to take their groceries home for free, while others had to abandon their trolleys and get takeaway for dinner (or head over to another grocer).

This incident highlights the extent to which we rely on technology. Losing just one system can make trade impossible – and cost a fortune!

You can listen to the Retail Panel every Thursday on ABC Radio from 4pm or listen to the podcast here!

The Retail Experts, Christine Moody from Brand Audits, Dominique Lamb from the National Retail Association and Gary Mortimer from QUT’s School of Business to discuss these issues and more on ABC Radio Drive with Steve Austin. Listen now! 

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