I’m writing this week from New York where I am attending the Federation of International Retail Associations (FIRA) summit. It’s been incredibly insightful to spend the week learning the sorts of techniques that retailers around the world are implementing and the cutting-edge trends that are emerging.

Retail is facing both challenges and opportunities arising from new technologies and changes in consumer behaviour. Getting a first-hand glimpse into some of the initiatives being utilised by the sector has been both interesting and beneficial. I look forward to providing a more in depth summary of the event once it concludes and I’m back in the country, but I can certainly attest that it has been a great experience thus far.

Back on the home front it was fantastic to see a giant jump in retail sales when the ABS released its November 2019 report last week. Across Australia turnover spiked by 0.9 per cent, indicating that the Christmas trade period had seen Aussies splash the cash for the holiday season.

Although Black Friday is being mostly credited with the sharp increase in turnover, it does conform to a growing trend whereby Australians are looking to do their Christmas shopping earlier than usual.

After a pretty ordinary year for retail it is relieving news to see the sector finish the year strongly. As many of you would have experienced first-hand, a big issue throughout 2019 was weak discretionary spending. A traditionally busy time like Christmas does naturally see this area of spending pick up as shoppers treat themselves to purchases such as coffee, lunch or a snack while they do Christmas shopping.

We eagerly anticipate the December results, which will be released in early February, but in the meantime we hope this is a good omen for 2020.

Have a great week!

Touring The Package Free Shop in New York.
Presenting an award at the Vendors in Partnership Awards at the beautiful Gotham Hall
Attending the sparks & honey brief to discuss retail trends and insights
Podcasting with Paul Greenberg at the NRF Big Show