IT'S BEGINNING to look a lot like Christmas for outdoor leisure retailers with barbecues, camping and outdoor leisure equipment tipped to rise 135 percent in the lead up to Christmas.

New research by the Australian Retailers Association’s (ARA) and Roy Morgan looks at last year’s Christmas shopping period between November 2013 – January 2014, and reveals the categories showing the largest growth during this period (compared with the rest of the year) are as follows: barbecues, camping and outdoor leisure equipment (up 135 percent), perfume and aftershave (up 58 percent) and women’s dresses (up 54 percent). 

ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said these results certainly reflect current consumer buying patterns, with shoppers not only starting to stock up on traditional best-selling gifts such as perfume, aftershave and clothing but also the latest barbecue and camping equipment.

“Australian’s have been born and bred to enjoy the great outdoors over summer and that includes heading away with the family on camping trips and regular social barbecues with friends. We’re expecting to see a lot of tents, picnic gear, high-quality outdoor furniture and other leisure-based gifts under Christmas trees this year. These items are often able to be enjoyed by the entire family, therefore providing great value for money for the penny-conscious shopper.

“The expected rise in sales of 135 percent is music to the ears of Australian outdoor leisure retailers who have been doing it extremely tough over winter.

“When comparing hottest Christmas items of 2013 with hottest Christmas items of 2012, there are a few notable trends that we can expect to see reflected in this year’s Christmas sales. Interestingly, women’s jumpers take the top spot with an increase in sales by over 40 percent year on year. Women’s sleepwear sales are also up significantly (36 percent) but are offset by falls in other women’s apparel categories including jeans (-43 percent), sportswear (-38 percent), socks (-29 percent) and coats (-27 percent).

Car care products will remain great stocking fillers (up 28 percent) as well as craft and hobby related products which are set to experience a jump in sales by 27 percent this Christmas,” Mr Zimmerman said.

Overall, ARA data shows that shoppers will spend a whopping $45 billion from 15 November until 24 December, representing a 4.3 percent gain on sales during the same period in 2013 ($43 billion).

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Since 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has been the peak industry body representing Australia’s $265 billion retail sector, which employs over 1.2 million people. The ARA ensures retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 5,000 independent and national retail members throughout Australia.

Visit www.retail.org.au

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THE University of Sydney’s internationally respected Workplace Research Centre (WRC) is planning to make a final and significant contribution to the industrial relations debate with its last high powered symposium on this crucial element of national life.

Established as the Australian Centre for Industrial Relations Research and Training (ACIRRT) in 1991, the WRC will close at the end of 2014.

Prominent speakers at the symposium on 4 December 2014, will include the former President of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission, Geoffrey Guidice AO.

“The symposium will look at the role played by research in evaluating previous industrial relations reform as well as the future and explore how research can respond to new and emerging employment relations challenges,” said WRC Director, Professor John Buchanan.

The symposium will also feature:

  • Grant Belchamber, ACTU
  • Emeritus Professor Russell Lansbury, Inaugural ACIRRT director
  • Professor Karel Williams, University of Manchester (via videolink)
  • Professor Chris Warhurst, University of Warwick (via videolink)
  • Professor Barbara Pocock, University of South Australia
  • Professor John Buchanan, University of Sydney
  • Professor David Peetz, Griffith University
  • Professor Nigel Haworth, University of Auckland
  • Associate Professor Rae Cooper, University of Sydney

Further details are available on the WRC’s website: http://sydney.edu.au/business/workplaceresearch/conferences/symposium_2014/legacies_and_future_directions_for_ir_research

Date: 4 December, 2014

Time: 9am – 4.20 pm

Venue: The Darlington Centre, City Road, University of Sydney

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THE Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and Treasury will re-appear before the House Tax and Revenue Committee tomorrow as part of its inquiry into tax disputes.

These agencies gave evidence to the first public hearing of the inquiry in July. Since then, the Committee has spoken to a wide range of taxpayers, tax agents, accountants, lawyers and professional associations.

Tomorrow’s hearing will allow the Tax Office and Treasury to respond to evidence received during the inquiry. Topics likely to be raised at the hearing include:

•the extent of independence when the ATO considers a taxpayer’s objection;
•the readiness of the ATO to engage with taxpayers during disputes;
•the robustness of ATO processes for findings of fraud and evasion, which remove the four and two-year time limits on amending assessments;
•how the general interest charge works during a dispute;
•the ATO’s performance indicators for disputes.

Committee chair John Alexander said the hearing will provide the committee with the opportunity to test some of the evidence and proposals that it received during the inquiry.

“We look forward to hearing the views and expertise of the ATO and the Treasury so the committee can make recommendations that allow the ATO to collect the revenue due, whilst demonstrating fairness and respect to taxpayers,” he said.

Public hearing
Wednesday 26 November 2014
Committee Room 2R1, Parliament House, Canberra

4:oopm   The Treasury and the Australian Taxation Office
5:30pm  Adjournment

The hearing will be broadcast live at: www.aph.gov.au/live.

For further information: please contact the committee secretariat by telephone 02 6277 4821, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or visit the committee website http://www.aph.gov.au/taxrev.

Media release date: 25 November 2014

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VICTORIA'S peak events industry body welcomes today’s announcement that Melbourne will be the exclusive host of soccer’s International Champions Cup Australia in 2015.

“As the global sporting capital, Melbourne is the ideal place for this wonderful event that will bring together the world’s best players, their huge supporter base and local fans,” said Victoria Events Industry Council (VEIC) Chief Executive, Dianne Smith.

Ms Smith’s comments follow the announcement that three leading international soccer teams, including Real Madrid F.C., will feature in the tournament at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in July 2015.

“The tournament is expected to deliver an economic benefit of more than $50 million to Victoria, which is yet another example of the significant benefit major events and tourism bring to Victoria,” said Ms Smith.

And we can expect near capacity crowds, thanks not only to the calibre of the teams, but also to the commitment of organisers to making tickets as accessible and affordable as possible.”

VEIC Chairperson Peter Jones said: “This is only the third edition of this series and Melbourne has been able to secure this event because of its worldwide reputation for staging iconic sporting events."

“Having a stadium such as the MCG in the heart of the city is a big drawcard. We can host all the matches in one venue and this makes us a very attractive destination for these top tier clubs.”

Ms Smith added that the event will showcase Melbourne and Victoria globally, as the tournament will be broadcast to more than 150 countries.

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Established in December 2006, the Victoria Events Industry Council (VEIC) is the peak policy council representing Victoria’s $1.4 billion event industry.

vtic.com.au  

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THE Australasian Investor Relations Association (AIRA) today urged listed entities to be more proactive in informing investors about their market briefings in order to comply with new best practice guidelines and also to lead by example.

AIRA, the industry association for investor relations professionals, used the release of its updated Best Practice Investor Relations guidelines to call on companies to lift the bar in communicating important information to their shareholders.

“We would like to see listed entities tell all shareholders exactly when they are scheduling investor briefings, presentations and webcasts so that more people can find out in a timely manner exactly what is happening,” AIRA’s CEO, Mr Ian Matheson said.

“Such routine details are not always made widely available, but it is essential to do so if all investors are to be kept fully informed. The details can easily be posted on a company’s own website and more particularly lodged with ASX and/or NZX.”

Mr Matheson said that regulators have made it clear that they want ALL investors to be provided with all price sensitive information in a timely manner. He said it was up to corporations to use the communications tools at their fingertips to engage effectively with as many of their shareholders’ as possible.

The fourth edition of AIRA’s best practice guidelines also calls for live webcasts of annual general meetings, including question and answer sessions. It also recommends that companies consider providing a full transcript of proceedings, including formal speeches and presentations, along with relevant question-and-answer exchanges of all significant briefings.

When it comes to investor days and analyst briefings, all questions and answers should be monitored for market-sensitive information and be released immediately to securities exchanges if any inadvertent disclosures are made. All presentations should be released prior to the investor day commencing, and also uploaded to company websites along with question-and-answer sessions.

AIRA also recommends that listed entities lodge all of these presentations and particularly financial results prior to the market opening to enable analysts and investors to digest the information before trading commences.

On the recent disclosure issue of releasing sell-side earnings consensus forecasts, AIRA says that any publication should be made on a company’s website and should also be updated on a regular basis to ensure the market was fully informed. If such details are published, the company should include a disclaimer saying it did not endorse the analysts’ forecasts.

“These guidelines reflect all recent regulatory initiatives, including the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s (ASIC) report on the handling of confidential, market-sensitive information,” Mr Matheson said. “They also cover the ASX Corporate Governance Council’s revised principles and recommendations, ASX’s updated guidance note related to continuous disclosure and ASIC’s regulatory guide on better disclosure.

ASIC, ASX and the New Zealand Securities Exchange (NZX) have all provided comments on the guidelines.

“We want to make it easier for listed entities to comply with their obligations by including in the guidelines an investor relations toolkit, which provides easy-to-adopt briefing templates, policy examples and content checklists.”

AIRA’s guidelines are intended to provide practical advice on how listed entities can better communicate information to investors. They account for regulatory imperatives and compliance options and outline the principles and practices that investor relations officers should apply to maintain an efficient and transparent market.

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About AIRA

AIRA is Australasia’s premier member-based organisation advancing awareness of best practice investor relations, thereby improving the relationship between listed entities and the investment community. The Association's 171 corporate members now represent more than A$760 billion of market capitalisation, which is greater than two-thirds of the total market capitalisation of companies listed on the ASX.

http://www.aira.org.au

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