Cautious consumers who would rather save than spend are the “new normal” for retailers, the CEO of David Jones has warned.
Paul Zahra said that while sales are less volatile than last year, consumers remain wary and the situation is unlikely to change.
“What you’re seeing is consumers aren’t reacting to the international shocks,” he said.
“Maybe it’s because they’ve had 12 months now to get their head around it, I don’t know. But I think when you look at it, it’s become the new normal, and I think consumers have just gone back to their normal behaviour.”
Supermarkets warned over home brands
Supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths should be careful not to introduce too many own brands to their shelves, according to the boss of UK grocery giant Tesco.
Sir Terry Leahy, who turned Tesco into a market-leading force in the UK, said that other brands shouldn’t be pushed completely aside by supermarket home brands.
“There is a natural level, or natural limit, from sector to [supermarket] sector, between 30 and 50%, and it’s very important that you let the consumer choose,” he said. “Don’t force the choice for the customer.”
Microsoft unveils Windows 8
Microsoft has unveiled a full preview of its Windows 8 platform, which it says is the most radical overhaul since Windows 95.
Consumers and businesses can download a Beta version of the system, which will span desktops, tablets and smartphones. It will go on sale later this year.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 1.17 points, or 0.01%, to 12,421.03. The Australian dollar was up to US97.32 cents.