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Myer breaks ranks on 'net retailing

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Australian retailer Myer has broken ranks with other major retailers like Gerry Harvey and Solomon Lew by saying that internet shopping isn’t slaughtering its sales.

Issuing an earnings guidance statement to the Australian Stock Exchange, Myer said sales for the first half of 2011 were down 3.54 per cent on the previous period and 5.19 per cent on the corresponding period in financial year 2010.

However, in spite of its membership of a retail coalition lobbying to have GST exemptions on internet purchases less than $1,000 ended, the retailer did not attribute its performance on the internet.

Myer boss Bernie Brooks said that internet retail represents less than 2 per cent of total retail in Australia. Rather, he has said heavy Christmas discounting, along with stores being closed by floods in two states (Queensland and Victoria), and an interest rate rise in November had all combined to depress consumer spending. “I’ve never seen the consumer so fragile,” Brooks said. ®

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