Retail sales rise just 0.2% in August: Midday roundup

Retail sales increased by a lower than expected 0.2% in August, according to the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Spending increased to a seasonally adjusted $21 billion, although analysts expected a 0.5% increase.

The results come after a 0.8% increase was recorded in July.

ACCI finds businesses are spending $10,000 a year and five hours a week on red tape

A survey by the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry launched today found 44% of businesses spend between one and five hours a week complying with government (federal, state or local) regulatory requirements (filling out forms, applying for permits, reporting business activity).

Of the 870 businesses surveyed by the ACCI, 72% of businesses say the time they’re spending on red tape has increased in the last two years.

The ACCI says 42.2% estimate they spent more than $10,000 complying with government regulations last year and a majority say red tape has a moderate to major impact on their business and complying with government regulations has prevented them making changes to grow or expand their business.

Peter Anderson, chief executive of ACCI, has called for red tape to be cut.

“The burden of red tape is costing business more resulting in negative or stagnant productivity growth,” he said.

“Less red tape allows business to be flexible, innovative and adaptive to changing economic conditions.”

Allen & Unwin buys Murdoch Books

Australian publisher Allen & Unwin has announced the acquisition of Murdoch Books. The sum involved was not disclosed.

Robert Gorman, chief executive of Allen & Unwin said the acquisition would “add balance” to his company’s publishing programme and allow it to offer “the broadest range of books” to its customers around the world.

“We have long admired Murdoch Books as one of the most impressive and innovative Australian publishers,” Gorman said.

“The two companies share a rich history of producing outstanding Australian books that resonate not only in our domestic market but also reach far beyond that into international markets.”

Shares flat after weak offshore lead

The Australian sharemarket has opened flat this morning, following a weak lead from offshore markets.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 1.2 points or 0% to 4439.8, while in the United States, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 12.2 points or 0.1%.

ACCC denies Woolworths hardware acquisition

The ACCC has denied Woolworths the ability to purchase the G Gay & Co hardware chain in Ballarat, Victoria.

“The ACCC is concerned about the removal of a key independent competitor from the market to the detriment of competition and local consumers.” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said in a statement.

“G Gay & Co is a vigorous and effective competitor in terms of price, product range and service and is likely to provide a strong competitive constraint on Masters in the Ballarat area.”



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