The first rounds of submissions are being called for by the Productivity Commission as it prepares to undertake a public inquiry into the economic structure and performance of the retail.

It was found that many local retailers were finding it tough to compete against international competitors in the online realm, sparking the Australian government to ask the Productivity Commission to conduct the inquiry.

It will examine the current structure, performance and efficiency of the retail sector and the drivers of structural change in the industry, including globalisation, increasing household and business access to the digital economy, changing cost structures, employment issues and the exchange rate.

According to the Commission, it will also consider issues posed by an increase in online purchasing by Australian consumers; the role online purchasing plays in providing consumers with greater choice, access and convenience; and the appropriateness of the current indirect tax arrangements for overseas online purchases.

The inquiry will be conducted by Philip Weickhardt and Louise Sylvan.

Interested people and organisations are being asked provide their submissions to the Productivity Commission by Friday, 20 May 2011. For more details click here.