Sunday 12 March 2017

Retail News Briefs - Chinese Tourism, VR, US Economy.....

Virtual Reality in Retail - the much hyped technology where you wear those bulky eye goggles to immerse yourself in virtual reality (let's call it made-up reality) has often been touted as having uses in retail.
The most obvious applications might be sampling an overseas holiday or driving a new car. But US homewares giant, Lowes (partners with Woolworths in ill-fated Masters launch in Australia), has introduced VR in store so customers can experience, wait for it.....tile grouting. Yes, according to an article in SmartCompany, customers go through a 20 minute VR experience that shows how to tile their bathroom. Takes a bit of the shine off VR doesn't it?

US Employment Figures Please
It is difficult to underestimate the importance of a healthy US economy and this week's employment figures have strengthened the expectation that there will be an interest rate rise in the US soon.
Job numbers went up by 235,000 in February, reducing unemployment to 4.7% and signalling overall health in the economy. More Americans were looking for jobs and 58,000 new construction jobs were the highest in a decade.

Chinese Tourism To Rescue Australian Retail
According to Sky News, the increase in overseas tourists, particularly Chinese holiday makers, is set to rescue Australian retail from poor local buying conditions.including high levels of household debt.
Chinese tourists spend over $1.4billion per year in Australia and that is set to quadruple over the next decade according to Sky News.
Total tourism expenditure (domestic and international) topped $130billion in 2015/16 and 40% of that was spent on retail.

Interesting Facts -
1. For the first time ever, Americans drank more bottled water than soda soft drinks in 2016.

2. UK retailer, John Lewis, has reduced its staff bonus to 6%, the lowest in 63 years. Traders may need to reconsider their own staff bonuses.