BEST OF THE REST: January 28

January 28, 2011: A round-up of this week’s stories from other online sources which may be of interest to Photo Counter readers:

The blight of price deflation impacting consumer electronics retailing was highlighted in Current (www.current.com.au) this week. AV and computing equipment dropped (deflated?) in CPI terms by almost 5 percent. Anecdotally, the major culprit is flat-screen TVs, but GfK figures have tracked a small but significant decline in the average price of digital cameras as well.

Current also looked at financial results from the Dick Smith chain, noting that the new-format (‘refreshed’) stores are growing at a greater rate than the plain-or-garden-variety stores, according to a report lodged with the Australian Securities Exchange. Woolworth’s boss Michael Luscombe (pictured right) put the success down to ‘significant investment in price reductions’.

(One wonders how they might have fared if a significant investment was made in training staff how to sell without discounting!)

Connected Australia (www.connectedaustralia.com.au), regarded Dick Smith’s results in a darker light (if you get my drift) seeing DSE as continuing ‘to battle a fall in margins due to heavy discounting which is impacting on profitability.’

– It’s almost as if this darned ‘heavy discounting’ problem was like heavy rainfall – a force of nature out of anyone’s control, rather than a considered business decision!

If you were had doubts about the concentration of retail power in Australia, another report from Connected should dispel them. With a market less than one-tenth the size of the US, both Woolworths and Wesfarmers have made it into the world’s Top 25 retail companies, according to a Deloitte report.

Woolies is 20th – up from 26th last year – while Wesfarmers is 23rd, up from 28th.

The Deloitte report identifies the largest 250 retailers by revenue globally for 2010, with Woolworths and Wesfarmers featuring in the top 25 for the first time. The top three were Wal-Mart, Carrefour and Metro.

‘The other companies in the top 25 originate mainly from heavily-populated countries such as the United States, Germany, UK, Japan and France. If you add the fact that most of those also operate in multiple countries, unlike Woolworths and Wesfarmers, you get a far better appreciation of the relative strengths of Australian retailers,’ noted a Deloitte spokesman.

– Or you could just ask a few dairy farmers, independent service station operators – or photo retailers.

Photo & Imaging News (www.photoimaging.com.au) ran with a US Infotrends survey which revealed (Shock! Horror!) that US consumers aren’t printing photos in the volumes they used to, and tend to rely on CDs and hard drives as archival storage methods.

Respondents were asked how they plan to pass on photos to future generations, and the most popular choices for storing pics for future generations were: CD/DVD (37 percent); external hard drive (16 percent); and web albums (10 percent). Another 32 percent were totally clueless as to how to pass their photos on.

Australian retailers will grind their teeth reading that, ’46 percent of survey respondents say they would print more photos if the cost was lower.’ – Lower! Where’s Dave?!

PIN also ran a short piece noting that it’s hard to eradicate the Rabbit. The brand has re-emerged as Rabbit Magic in an HP/Snapfish email promotion for 9 cent prints. Presumably using Fujifilm paper out of the Photo Create wholesale fulfilment operation. Interesting bedfellows!

The US PMA Newsline was as usual full stories relevant only to the US market. There was, however, a short podcast interview with Jared Davis of Megawood Mouldings in Queensland, Australia, who ‘explains how to convert a discount from a mediocre offering to something classy and appealing. You’ll also learn tips on the best way to sell gift certificates.’

CONTRIBUTIONS WELCOME: Come across something worth sharing with the Photo Counter readership? Drop me an email headed ‘Best of the Rest’ at [email protected].


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