Having just celebrated Australia Day, and being married to an Australia Day Ambassador whose parents landed at Station Pier in Melbourne in the late 1940s, I am reminded that being brave, adventurous and taking risks is a common thread across business and our community. Be it pursuing safety or opportunity in a new country, embarking upon a business transformation to remain relevant in an increasingly digital landscape, or female executives pushing through the glass ceiling as they pursue a seat at the Boardroom table – bold decisions are not for the faint-hearted and change is not without risk.
Applying that same lens to the domestic Retail sector as we look to the various retail formats and categories in the domestic market, the landscape is littered with those who are thriving and those who are struggling:
In Australia in 2018 we said goodbye to a number of retailers including: Diana Ferrari, Doughnut Time, John Cootes Furniture, Laura Ashley, Maggie T, Marcs, Max Brenner, Metalicus, Mountain Designs, Payless Shoes, Pumpkin Patch, Roger David, Shoes of Prey, Sumo Salad and Zumbo Patisserie. We also said farewell to AVON, Esprit, GAP and Toys ‘R’ Us from our shores girt by sea.
Yet today consumers are wearing more and more athleisure-wear, personal training studios are popping-up on every corner, crowds flocked to the Australian Open in January and spent money at the extended venues along Melbourne’s Yarra River. Discerning customers continue to queue in our capital cities to shop luxury brands and the reception desks of corporate Australia are forever signing proof of delivery screens for their employees’ latest online purchases. Clearly there are businesses doing something right despite the negative press around consumer confidence in the face of Australia’s political turmoil, the impact of the slow-down of the Chinese economy and the snowball effect of Brexit.
Whether it be climate change, the political environment, a business model or diversity and inclusion just to name a few, we should welcome each challenge as an opportunity and be prepared to take a risk. For without risk, there will be no reward.
In the words of Winston Churchill, “Those who never change their minds, never change anything.”