Chasing up some retail tales

The last couple of days has seen topics of a few previous International BS Blog posts back in the news. In reverse order of when we last spoke about them:

coles-logo1. The spotlight has been turned on supermarket bargaining power again. Instead of Belgian chain Delhaize, this time its Aussie giant Coles who is squeezing its long-suffering suppliers even more:

“Buyers from Coles have been contacting suppliers to tell them of a 4 per cent increase in trading terms, the percentage of the cost of each item the supplier must pay back to the retailer. For many suppliers, this figure was in the mid-teens but it is being pushed closer to 20 per cent.”

Not a huge surprise in a virtual duopoly, particularly when Coles is under so much more pressure to economise than Woolworths.

logo-vanlaack2. Australian high-end menswear fashion house, Herringbone has been rescued by a German suitor. As we noted back in December, it is a lot harder to target this segment when incomes are under pressure. van Laack presumably scored these guys at a bargain, another instance of the scope to rationalise (and internationalise) in the current economic crisis.

3. And finally a firm we’ve lauded as the prime mover in the electronics hardware and software retailing pace, JB Hi-Fi has made some waves this week, enjb-hi-fitering both the ASX100 (i.e. the largest 100 listed firms in Australia by capitalisation) and Australia’s top 20 most valuable brands, both for the first time. Being a highly efficient, low-cost producer in the current climate seems a winning strategy indeed.

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