Summary

The period from 2011 to 2013 was very difficult for Australian retailers. An uncertain domestic political environment and the slowing of the investment boom in the resources sector – Australia is a large exporter of iron ore, coal and other metals to China – created uncertainty over employment, weakened consumer confidence and undermined growth in the Australian real-estate market. Australians hold a greater proportion of their wealth in real estate than people in many countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD); so weak property prices translate quickly into a perceived drop in wealth. Slowed rates of new housing construction also hurt the home-furnishing and consumer-electronics segments.