Business Advice

Former ACCC boss speaks on Amazon … US clothing retailer Bebe to close all bricks-and-mortar stores … Donald Trump’s tax plan slashes rates for businesses

Eloise Keating /

A former chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has added his voice to the those welcoming the arrival of US e-commerce giant Amazon to Australia, saying attempts by local retailers to resist technological change are futile.

Professor Graeme Samuel, who led the ACCC between 2003 and 2011, told The New Daily Australian consumers won’t be hit with higher prices as a result of Amazon dominating the online retail market when it arrives.

“That is the argument most often used to try and prevent this kind of competition,” Samuel said.

“Funny thing, it hasn’t happened in any other industry in which it has been threatened.

“Amazon is part of the technological revolution that’s occurring globally at the moment. It ought to be welcomed.

“A business that tries to resist that sort of change or asks government to try to resist it are really asking government to adorn the crown of King Canute. That’s just not on, not going to happen.”

While a number of small and medium retailers have told SmartCompany they’re ready for Amazon’s arrival, and indeed are looking forward to, other high-profile retailers like Harvey Norman boss Gerry Harvey have claimed the retailer’s goal is to “destroy everything in front of them” to achieve dominance.

US clothing brand Bebe to shut more than 170 stores

US-based clothing retailer Bebe will cease its bricks-and-mortar retail presence by the end of May, with the brand last week revealing plans to close all of the stores in its network, which is reported to be around 175.

CNBC reports the company has indicated it is exploring “strategic alternatives” for its future, with some speculating the Bebe could continue as an online-only retailer. Earlier reports put the company’s recent losses at around $200 million over the past four years.

Bebe was founded in 1976 and specialises in women’s apparel and accessories. According to Inside Retail, the brand also has a presence in Asia through franchised stores in Thailand, India, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Donald Trump proposes to slash tax rates for businesses

In what the White House claims is the “biggest tax cut” in US history, President Donald Trump has proposed cutting the tax rate for public corporations from 35% to 15%, while also slashing the top tax rate applied to smaller “pass-through” firms from 39.6% to 15%.

The proposals form part of Trump’s wider tax plan, which would also change how much individuals can claim in standard deductions and repeal inheritance taxes on estates, according to the ABC. The President also wants to lower the rate of tax applied to corporations that bring off-shore profits into the US, but has not yet said by how much he would lower the current rate of 35% on that front.

While there has been much speculation on the form of Trump’s tax agenda over recent months, the plan released this week is only one-page long and therefore contains limited information, reports Reuters.

It will be up to the US Congress to enact any major changes to tax law in the US. Democrats such as Nancy Pelosi have slammed the plan as “short on details and long on giveaways to big corporations and billionaires”, while influential Republicans said in a statement the “principles” in Trump’s plan will act as “critical guideposts” for the development of tax policy.

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Eloise Keating

Eloise Keating is the editor of SmartCompany. Previously, Eloise was news editor at Books+Publishing, the trade press for the Australian book industry.

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