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Target Shifts To E-Tail As Retailers Change Tack

By Oonagh Reidy | Thursday | 14/04/2011

Fresh on the wake of rivals moves, Target shifts its retail artillery- online.

Click to enlarge
In spite of all the noise made by leading retailers including Myer, Harvey Norman and Just Group over lack of GST on foreign goods bought online under $1000, retailers are now moving to the web in droves to drum up sales in a flat retail trading environment.

 "The new online store will complement our existing bricks & mortar operations," David Hamilton, from Target IT said.

"We have taken our time entering the online selling arena to ensure we got it right and to make it the experience our customers would expect from Target."

And Target, which has 290 stores nationwide,  won't be just sticking to apparel, as per its current offering, and plans to extend in the future.

Although "initially we are launching the online retail store with a small selling presence starting with our baby, nursery and schoolwear ranges," according to  CFO  John Box, the store has pledged to "build on" its range, which may also include electronic goods.

Department store rivals Myer recently moved its site to China, trading in discounted goods and Harvey Norman announcing an online venture, as well Bestbuys deals website. 

Target, owned by Westfarmers group, who also own supermarket giant Coles, could be looking to defend its discount goods territory  from competition not only from foreign traders but also Myer's recent foray into cheaper apparel.

The myfind.com website, operating out of China, which went live on 28 February, is seeking to offer "great value and one-off special buys for online shoppers."

The store, which was never affiliated with heavily discounted goods, appears to be performing a U-turn in its sales strategy, facilitated by the online move.

Canberra's refusal to budge on the GST issue led them to set up shop out of China to avoid paying the tax they are forced to fork out while operating within Australia.

"If we can't beat them we will join them," lamented Mr Bernie Brookes, Myer's CEO last year.

And it looks like other retailers are also changing tack.

Just today a leading retail conference, which heard speakers from Google and Deals Direct, said that while industry have been advocating a tax neutral competitive playing field, there is still a need for retailers to engage in the online and e-tailing.

Target is using the hybris B2C Commerce web solution to deploy the new e-store, which facilitates customers shopping online.

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