Wesfarmers group managing director Richard Goyder has warned of the dangers of US online retail behemoth Amazon to local retailers. Speaking at a retail forum in Sydney yesterday, Goyder said Amazon will “eat all our breakfasts, lunches and dinners”, unless Australian retailers become more innovative and barriers to competition are removed.

Amazon is gearing up for a major push into Australia and Google will be next.

“We’ve got big competition online and through a physical presence…we are in a disruptive, disrupted world,” Goyder told about 450 retailers at the Retail Leaders forum.

Goyder said online retailers such as Amazon, Google and asos.com could trade 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year, while Australian bricks and mortar retailers, including Wesfarmers’ Bunnings, Kmart, Target, Coles and Officeworks chains, were restricted by “archaic” trading hours and excessive regulation.

However, the concept of pure bricks and mortar retailing was fast abating and all retailers needed to have an online and social media presence, he said. Each of Wesfarmer’s brands is investing heavily in e-commerce and digital content to better engage with customers.

Goyder urged the government to develop policies that encouraged Australian companies to be globally competitive and pursue world-class productivity and innovation.

“What we need is sound economic management that encourages investment and innovation so businesses can employ more people, take calculated risks and create value for all stakeholders,” he said.

He believed that the federal government’s Innovation Package was a good step, but unnecessary regulations needed to be removed and new regulations should only be introduced where there were clear public benefits.

This story first appeared in Appliance Retailer