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Australian retailers missing the boat in Asia: Pricewaterhouse

Brisbane, Feb 1 (Asia Pulse) - PricewaterhouseCoopers has issued a surveywhich shows that Australian retailers are missing out on opportunities to expandinto Asia. Retail Meter Asia, a study prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers and theAustralian Centre for Retail Studies at Monash University, forecasts that Asia'sretail trading performance will strengthen in the next six months as economicenvironment improves.

Brisbane, Feb 1 (Asia Pulse) - PricewaterhouseCoopers has issued a survey which shows that Australian retailers are missing out on opportunities to expand into Asia.

Retail Meter Asia, a study prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Australian Centre for Retail Studies at Monash University, forecasts that Asia's retail trading performance will strengthen in the next six months as economic environment improves.

The study also reveals that 75 per cent of retailers in the region expect competition to intensify. "European and American retailers are sapping the growth opportunities in Asia," PricewaterhouseCoopers retail lead partner Tony Leibowitz said. "Global players such as Wal-Mart, Tesco and Carrefour have already established themselves and are winning market share as the region begins to see growth in consumer spending," he said. "Australians retailers who don't act now risk being left behind ... despite Australia's geographical proximity to Asia, we have an extremely small presence there."

Economic and competitive issues have emerged as key concerns for Asian retailers looking forward to 2000. Many expect to see further industry consolidations as retailers go out of business or are taken over. Australian Centre for Retail Studies executive director Dr Alan Treadgold said Asian retailers saw the current environment as difficult but expected it to improve.

"Yet in comparison with their counterparts in the very buoyant Australian market, they are less likely to invest in technology, supply chain management and business marketing," he said. Other key findings of the study showed that customer loyalty programmes were widely seen to have a role in improving the competitive position of retailers.

It also found that electronic commerce was considered relatively unimportant and despite the current economic environment, more than three quarters of retailers were satisfied with their trading performances.