This week got off to a relatively good start, with the Australian Bureau of Statistics reporting that November trade figures saw year-on-year growth of 3.2 per cent.

Australian Retailers Association (ARA) executive director Russell Zimmerman said this growth is a positive sign for the industry, with hope that the predicted Christmas sales figure of $48.1 billion will be achieved.

“We won’t be able to confirm the actual pre-Christmas spend until December retail figures are released next month,” he said. “However, after speaking with retailers across the country, many reported a strong start to Christmas sales in November due to many consumers getting on top of their holiday shopping early.”

I’d also like to say congratulations and good luck to Tasmanian homewares retailer LUC., which has been named the gia Australia winner! Owner Lucy Given will be off to Chicago in March to represent Australia in the global awards. The gia program was created by the IHA and International Home + Housewares Show in 2000 to foster innovation and excellence in home and housewares retailing throughout the world.

Here are a few other things I’ve been interested in this week:

I’m talking to… the founder of online marketplace hardtofind, Erica Stewart. It’s been nearly a decade since Erica quit her job in magazines to work on her business, and she’s had more success than she ever imagined. I found out what 2017 has in store, including a push into a new international market. Read all about it here.

I’m reading… this piece from our sister site C&I Week about BP taking over Woolworths petrol. According to the story, the Australian convenience landscape is set for a radical change with the $1.77 billion transaction meaning the end of the existing Woolworths Caltex alliance, subject to ACCC and Foreign Investment Review Board approval.

Our contributor this week… is Carla Bradshaw, the national head of marketing for media agency Dentsu Mitchell. Carla recently returned from a research trip to the US where she picked up some key trends we should be aware of this year. Click here to read her three main takeaways.

I’m thinking about… Australian brand Thankyou. I’m a sucker for anything that combines retail therapy with feel-good vibes, and Thankyou does just that. Founded in 2008, the social enterprise gives 100 per cent of its profits to fund safe water, food, hygiene and sanitation services around the world.

To-date the company has given over $4.8 million from the sale of its body and baby care ranges. Even better, Thankyou’s products are just plain good (especially the hand wash and hand cream). It’s fantastic to see a company in retail so dedicated to giving back. Read more about Thankyou’s recent partnership with eBay here.

I’m also thinking about what the future has in store for retail after writing a story about an Australian-made retail robot. Called the Shelfie, it promises great things for retailers, with the ability to track real-time data. Find out what it can do here.


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