True leadership is not politically correct

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Have you noticed that struggling retail businesses tend to change their senior executives frequently?

Undoubtedly, every new appointment is made with the hope of finding a leader capable of turning the ship around. If such a person is found and takes the helm, the business is gradually transformed, and its results begin to improve.

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The Forgotten People of the Election Campaign

australian parliament house for the federal government in canberra

Despite the retail industry’s significant contribution to the Australian economy and its dire need for relief from misguided policy, it is constantly ignored by all sides of politics.

Read the full column on Inside Retail, Australia’s leading retail trade publication.

Beyond Insanity

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Pressure can make people, and retailers, do strange things.

Take for example Walmart in the US. This immensely successful retail giant was feeling some heat from competitors in the online side of the retail market last year. Obviously, retail is a sector of the economy that Walmart is accustomed to dominating, so the business couldn’t sit idle and let revenue slide.

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Independent supermarkets: Another nail in the coffin

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On 31 May 2016, The Australian Financial Review wrote about Aldi’s rapid expansion in Australia. Aldi is now the most profitable supermarket retailer in Australia, with EBIT at 6% against 4.6% reported by Coles, and 5.4 reported by Woolworths.

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Low interest rates & structural sclerosis

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Most of us have an interest in interest rates, one way or the other.

For example, the current record low rates, negative in some countries, mean that those with mortgages and other loans rejoice while those who live off their investments don’t fare as well.

Consequently, one question looms: when will interest rates rise, and by how much?

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Numerical Fata Morgana

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Many years ago an article was published in the UK lamenting the dismal state of primary education in Great Britain. The key premise of the article: half of the students had below average reading skills.

Apparently the article was promoted as highlighting a serious problem, conveniently ignoring an important fact in favour of selling more newspapers – in any typical statistical sample, the number of values below and above average will be similar.

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Check Your Sources

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When I studied engineering, one of the most embarrassing mistakes an aspiring engineer could make was to derive a dimension from the wrong ‘base’.

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Teaching professors to code

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A new industry is emerging solely to repair the amateurish, yet often commercially useful software, routinely produced by academics.

The phenomenon has become so widespread that it caught the attention of The Economist, which recently published an article, titled “Of more than academic interest”, shedding light on the issue.

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