Minister Spruiks Online Retail As Borders Hits Hard Times

  • Online retail will drive digital economy
  • Online sales already having impact on retailers
  • Report on retail due later this year

While the owners of Borders books stores entered administration yesterday, the Minister of Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, was talking up the digital age of retail at the Online Retail Forum in Sydney. 

According to some pundits, one of the major reasons Borders and other book stores owned by the REDGroup is in financial trouble is because of the increase in online sales for the likes of books and CDs. However Conroy believes that online retailing will be the way of the future.

 "The Gillard Government believes the digital economy underpins Australia’s economic future and there is no doubt online retail will be a major driver of this," Conroy said. "Australia lags behind our international competitors when it comes to online retail. We know that 58.5% of Australian small businesses do not have a website and 72% do not offer sales or transactions online. By facilitating networking opportunities for industry, the Government is supporting businesses so that they can access the benefits of participating in the digital economy….”

Last year the Government announced a Productivity Commission Inquiry into the future of the retail industry and will report back later this year. The Inquiry will examine the drivers of structural change in the retail industry, including globalisation and the digital economy.