Australian retailers are in danger of being left behind in the global retail stakes, with many not equipped to handle the new challenges presented in this international landscape. To address this growing issue, the first Master in Retail Management (MRM) degree in Australia will be launched nationally in 2008.

The MRM was developed by the Sydney Business School (SBS) of the University of Wollongong, to educate managers struggling with the demands of the global retail market. This includes issues such as increased levels of competition, supply chain challenges, growth of the internet and consumer demand for better value and a higher level of service.

According to Professor John Glynn, Dean of SBS, there is a significant gap between Australia and other developed nations in the retail sector.

“The US and Europe have highly developed retail markets, which are underpinned by an extensive research base. Australia’s market is also growing rapidly, therefore we need to ensure that management has the best education available for the future,” he said.

SBS has taken a holistic view of retailing which addresses all aspects of a retail business from product sourcing and manufacture to the customer purchase experience.

“It is important for retail managers to have a clear understanding of the supply chain as each element directly affects the overall success of the business. For example, some managers do not understand the impact that purchasing strategies have on company profit,” explained Glynn.

The MRM degree covers areas such as retail management and marketing, supply chain management, people management and accounting.

With courses beginning in 2008, SBS will be hosting an information evening on Thursday 28 February 2008.