By Craig Zammit

MELBOURNE: Myer CEO Bernie Brookes and McCrindle Research’s, Mark McCrindle, both keynote speakers at next month’s 2007 National Retail Forum, have cast their light on the future of retailing, looking optimistically forward to the coming financial year.

According to Brookes and McCrindle, Australian retailers need to be aware of consumer trends and attitudes in order to capitalise on a predicted ‘champagne year’, with tax cuts, low unemployment and a hold on interest rates creating an optimistic retail environment.

“Long term, strong financial management by the current government has again provided a tremendous foundation for successful retailers to become even more [successful],” said Brookes.

“Low interest rates and a low unemployment level have helped consumer confidence, and the associated benefit is retailer confidence.

“Such an environment will only ever benefit good consumer-led retailers. It does not matter how buoyant the economy is, poor retailers who do not respond to the consumer will not survive,” Brookes said.

Mark McCrindle, who will present a talk on Retail Demographics at the Forum, believes that the key for retailers is to be aware of demographic shifts and generational differences of the society they are retailing in.

“Baby Boomers are working longer than ever and therefore are remaining active as consumers for longer,” said McCrindle.

“Whilst Generation X – today’s parents and householders – are in the most expensive stage or their lives as they provide for children and/or pay mortgages, Generation Y – the 20 somethings – are largely responsible for an expectation inflation, where retailers are more empowered with knowledge than ever before, and therefore have higher demands of the retailing industry,” he said.

Brookes, who will present ‘Customer Strategies – How to win your customers back’, and McCrindle will feature at the National Retail Forum alongside other speakers including Peter Alexander, Founder of Peter Alexander Pyjamas; Pierce Cody, Director, Macro Wholefoods and many more.

The National Retail Forum, to be held at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre from 14 to 16 August, will coincide with the Retail Expo Australasia, Australia’s premier retailing exhibition. For further information, visit or