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The retail sector has heard many times in recent years that it is a matter of when, not if, retail bricks and mortar fades away in favour of an exclusively online marketplace. Amazon, Alibaba, and other online goliaths will swallow up the industry, so we are told.

The NRA does not share this apocalyptic prediction for traditional retail outlets. Online services have certainly disrupted the retail environment in a way that has changed the sector forever, however, the notion that physical stores are going the way of the horse and buggy is false.

This was confirmed in recent days when commercial real estate firm, Colliers International, released its retail report for the first half of 2019.

Not only did it show that bricks and mortar retail is here to stay, its findings indicated that physical stores will remain by far the preferred choice of shoppers for a long time to come. The report reveals that Australians splashed $305 billion bricks at physical stores in the 12 months to March 2019, 20 times the rate of online sales for the same period.

As many of you would know from first-hand experience, in many cases digital retail complements rather than replaces a physical business. Many of you offer online services in addition to your bricks and mortar store, while many shoppers research products online before buying them in-store.

With the report finding that only 2 per cent of consumers shop exclusively online, we can conclude with a fair degree of certainty that traditional retail stores are very much here to stay.

Also, remaining on the digital theme, as announced last week the NRA is excited to be named as one of 15 industry associations appointed to the Australian Government Small Business Digital Champions Project.

Over the next two years we will be working to highlight case studies on small businesses that have embraced new technology, while also providing guidance on how to successfully embrace digital services. As part of the process, we are asking NRA members to complete a 15 minute survey which can be accessed on our website.

All the best for the week ahead!