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2011 Retailers in Australia on World's Largest List - Biggest and Best

Australian Retail Industry Companies and Chains, Global Powers Retailing Report

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2011 Retailers in Australia on World's Largest List - Biggest and Best
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Updated May 06, 2013
Australia's retail industry is its largest employer, with 50% of Australians currently working or having worked in the sector at some time in their lives, according to retailexecutive.com. Through an increase in entrepreneurship and franchising, retail has become a driving force with a vital role in the Australian economy. Besides mining, Australian retail stocks had the highest shareholder returns in aggregate from 2005 - 2010.

As a $329 billion sector which employs over 1.5 million people, according to retail.org.au, retail encompasses a remarkable variety of business segments. Supermarkets, fast food, specialty stores, and wholesale & logistics companies, not surprisingly, employ the largest number of workers in the industry. Approximately 11% of all employed people work in Australia's retail industry, but 40% of Australian retail employees only work in their retail jobs part-time, accordant to the Australian Government Productivity Commission.

The recent changes and trends that the Australian Retail Industry has experienced overall include:
  • Longer sales hours
  • Category killers located in outlying areas with lower real estate prices
  • Fewer individually-owned boutiques, more retail specialty chains
  • More consumer self-service, and less direct customer service assistance
  • Labor-saving technological advancements
  • Increased productivity due to better and more timely data
  • Increased number of hypermarkets
  • High street renovations and renaissance
  • Increase in private label brands to increase profits
  • International expansion of Australian-based retailers
Judging from these overall industry trends, it is clear tha Australian retailing is not that much different from the retail industry in the U.S. and most European countries.

Foreign retail companies are also strongly represented in Australia, with Gap, Abercrombie & Fitch, Apple, Zara, Fossil and Costco capitalizing on the rising sales potential. In fact, startupsmart.com.au states that 43% of online sales in Australia go to overseas companies that are doing business in physical stores within Australia's borders and online.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that retailers number over 77,000 currently and are growing at 6% compound per year. This promises an even larger economic presence in years to come. In fact, Australia’s GDP has shown continued growth throughout the economic downturn of recent years, thanks in part to the relatively large contribution of the retail sector. In leaps and bounds, the industry is expanding with the rise of the shopping mall, private equity investors, big-box retailers, vertical brand integration, and internet shopping.

Each year a “Global Powers of Retailing” report is compiled by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu and STORES Magazine, ranking retailers from all over the world according to total revenue. In 2011, the 14th annual list was released, ranking 250 retailers from 32 different countries.

What follows is a list of the largest retail companies with headquarters in Australia. The number by the name of each Largest Retailer in Australia is the revenue ranking for the retail chain, compared to the other 249 global retail companies and chains that were included on the 2011 World's Largest Retailers report.

Largest Retail Companies in Australia:

#20 - Woolworths
Convenience/ Forecourt Store, Discount Department Store, Electronics Specialty, Other Specialty, Supermarket
More About Woolworths:

#23 - Wesfarmers
Supermarket

More About Wesfarmers: Although the Australian Retail Industry was not immune from the Great Recession, it is clear that the Woolworth's and Wesfamers chains were relatively successful navigating their way through the economic downturn. Woolworths improved its ranking from #26 and Wesfarmers rose from #28 to #23 when comparing the 2010 Global Powers Rankings with the rankings in the 2011 report.

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