RetailBiz Round Up for Friday 10 January 2014 – with Andrew Jackson
Today's ASX results are here

Melbourne Central shopping centre has partnered with Nike in the lead up to the 2014 Australian Open. The CBD located retail and entertainment centre has opened their Rooftop Tennis Club on the third level of the complex, featuring world class tennis players Maria Sharapova and Roger Federer, among others.

Located at the corner of Latrobe and Swanson Streets at managed by The GPT Group, Melbourne Central is home to almost 300 stores including Armani Exchange, Lacoste, Smiggle and TGI Fridays.

Over the past week, select members of the public were invited to participate in several meet and greet sessions with the tennis stars. Tuesday featured Sharapova giving workout and tennis tips to a group of 100 lucky ladies, while on following days fans had the opportunity to test their skills against Victoria Azarenka and Roger Federer.

The court will be open through until 26 January 2014.

Tennis on the roof with Maria Sharapova (courtesy Melbourne Central's Instagram page)

Online retail may be popular but consumers are fed up with Byzantine returns policies. With a rapidly increasing number of people having access to smartphones, tablets and personal computers, it is no wonder that retail transactions being conducted online now account for over 6 per cent of traditional retail spending

Though online retal is seen as a way to easily browse and purchase goods, with the added benefits of convenience and often lower prices, a new study by market research company CoreData has revealed one of the major gripes Australians have when they purchase online: the returns policy.

According to this survey of 1,000 people, over three quarters (76.1 per cent) avoid returning something due to complicated returns policies or expensive return shipping costs. This leads to low customer satisfaction, and the frustration of simply trying to return an item can turn consumers off your business all together.

A startling 88 per cent of those surveyed said that a complex or annoying returns process could turn them off from every purchasing from that business again.

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Telstra has been fined over $500,000 dollars by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) for failing to provide new urban landline customer connections in the 2012-13 financial year.  

The telecom giant failed to meet two of the nine Customer Service Guarantee (CSG) benchmarks, set in place to protect fixed-line telephone service customers, by not reaching the benchmarks for providing new connections in both urban and rural areas. 

“I welcome Telstra’s improvements already implemented and its commitments to the ACMA to further improve its internal governance in these areas of operations,” said ACMA chairman Chris Chapman.

“Telstra has also committed to more regularly engage with the ACMA about its service improvements and performance.”

Ice cream provider Harry & Larry's has appointed a new technical manager to work across its national private label retailers, including Coles, Woolworths and Aldi, as well as Qantas Airways. Jenny Kaldy is in the hot seat (or is it the cold seat?) and she is a microbiologist with experience at the Tasmanian Dairy Industry Authority.

Ex-Wallaby and budding barista George Gregan and his wife Erica have taken a lease out in the ONE ONE ONE Eagle Street skyscraper in Brisbane, which is owned by the GPT Group, and have opened a new GG Espresso cafe.

Popular Taiwanese dumpling house Din Tai Fung has opened a new restaurant in Greenwood Plaza in North Sydney. This is DTF's fourth Australian store – all of them are in Sydney – no doubt other cities Down Under are keen for a taste!

Quote of the Day

“We want a money that some government mandarin can’t just whisk into existence with a pen stroke: Bitcoin is that. It just makes the world a better place.”

Patrick Byrne, CEO and Chairman of US company, commenting on the retailer’s decision to accept Bitcoin as a usable currency. The online-only retailer (specialising in new, used and returned goods, and who took in over US $1 billion in revenue in 2012) is by far the biggest company to accept payment using the cryptocurrency, and is a major victory for proponents of Bitcoin.

Image of the Day
Giving shoppers the inspiration to get fit and fabulous after the festive season, Kellogg’s has teamed up with oOh! Media to convert ten retail ShopaLite panels into mirrors showing reflections wearing a Kellogg’s Special K inspirational training top. The image above is from Westfield Chatswood.
Video of the Day
Great retailers know the secret to increasing sales is great customer service. You might learn a few tips from this video, though be warned, it will get stuck in your head for days and days…