By Patrick Avenell

The emergence of big box retailers such as Costco and Woolworths’ impending Masters outlets is placing enormous pressure on traditional retailers to maintain market share, a point made even more difficult by a lack of trained sale staff, according to former LG national sales manager Mark Norton.

Norton, who has also worked at David Jones, Fisher & Paykel and Philips in his 25-year career, now runs the Marked4Success training company. He said these new stores, plus the internet, has made old-fashioned selling skilling even more valuable.

“I’ve witnessed many challenges to the retailing environment over the years and unfortunately seen a number of retailers disappear,” he said. “The latest threats to traditional retailers appear to be coming from the massive overseas operations starting to hit our shores with their large buying powers and minimal margin expectations.”

“I’m also seeing consumers now confidently utilising the power of the web to make their purchases online.”

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Norton’s comments come on the day that Harvey Norman announced that the remaining Clive Peeters and Rick Hart stores would be converted to Harvey Norman or Joyce Mayne outlets, or closed, effectively killing off the Clive Peeters brand. Further emphasising the changing landscape of traditional retail, on Monday this week, JB Hi-Fi CEO Terry Smart revealed that JB would soon be launching a new music streaming subscription service.

To read the full interview with Mark Norton, turn to the August issue of Appliance Retailer magazine.