Business News Releases

All retailers wanted for Christmas was an interest rate cut – hope now lies with the RBA to reassess

Peak retail industry body the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) said the decision made by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) today to leave the cash rate unchanged yet again at 2.5 percent has left retailers anxious that shoppers may think twice about increasing their Christmas spending.

ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said although Christmas sales are currently going well, with retailers expected to pocket $42.2 billion from November 15 – Dec 25, business owners were disappointed that today’s rate stay may result in shoppers leaving gift purchases to the last minute.

“December is a crucial month for retailers who are counting on Christmas sales to get back on track financially. All we can do now is look forward to the Board reassessing the outlook in January and hope that policy is adjusted as needed. The ARA believes that the current cash rate of 2.5 percent has room for further adjustment.

“We know that the post-election boost for retail and consumer confidence has eased off somewhat, meaning the Abbott Government must rapidly implement its program of tax cuts and economic reform.

“The ARA is continuing to work alongside the government to rapidly implement its program of tax cuts and economic reform,” Mr Zimmerman said.

Since 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has been the peak industry body representing Australia’s $258 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 or call 1300 368 041.



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KPMG Capital to help KPMG firms' clients unlock tangible value of their data

NEW YORK: KPMG International today announced the formation of KPMG Capital, a new investment fund created to accelerate innovation in data and analytics (D&A) that will help clients of member firms unlock tangible value of their 'big data'.

KPMG Capital will support technology partnerships, strategic alliances and the recruitment of top talent to create new D&A solutions. With these capabilities, KPMG member firms will help clients solve critical business challenges in such areas as new revenue streams, risk management and cost optimization.

The use of D&A has become a critical business priority as companies try to derive value from the vast amounts of data now available to them. A new KPMG survey of business leaders from many of the world's leading companies found that while 69 percent see D&A as strategically important to their current growth plans, an overwhelming 96 percent believe their company is not currently using D&A effectively.

"Our new research shows that business leaders recognize the tremendous importance of D&A to business growth but feel they need more support to develop effective solutions," said Mark Toon, CEO of KPMG Capital and global lead for KPMG's D&A practice.

"KPMG Capital will enable us to develop or acquire opportunities in D&A quickly. Through partnerships with technology and service providers, strategic partners and other third parties, we aim to accelerate innovation in D&A to bring potential solutions to clients - and to the market - faster."

Mr Toon continued, "With more data produced and stored in the last two years than in the rest of human history, many businesses are looking for strategic and practical solutions to manage the volume, velocity and variety of this data revolution. KPMG Capital will lead the way in addressing the challenge of the three 'v's."

Addressing business challenges: innovating through partnerships

KPMG Capital's Toon believes the most successful companies will be those not merely collecting the data, but those that can distil data and translate it to insightful business guidance.

"Too many companies still see big data principally as a technology issue, when it really is a business issue across all industries," he said. "We're helping companies look at their data differently and turn it into value."

Investment will be made in a number of critical business areas including enhancing business flexibility; finance; regulation and compliance; improving workforce productivity; and customer and revenue growth. KPMG Capital will work to develop solutions that will focus on growth sectors such as healthcare, financial services, energy and telecommunications.

KPMG Capital's aim is to invest in, partner with and acquire organizations that specialize in data and analytics tools and assets. Combining that expertise with the KPMG network's global reach, existing D&A capabilities and deep insights, KPMG Capital will work to unlock new thinking to address the most pressing business challenges and deliver new solutions to market more quickly.

"KPMG Capital will enable a nexus for the world's best thinking in data and analytics," said Michael Andrew, Chairman of KPMG International. "D&A is part of our heritage, but with the fast pace of technology and globalization, clients want deeper insight more quickly. KPMG Capital's structure will allow us the flexibility to commercialize solutions which our global network of professionals can use to help business leaders harness the right data, analyze it and translate it into value. This is a transformative step for the future of KPMG's member firms as well as for clients' businesses."


About the survey

The KPMG survey was conducted in August 2013 by FT Remark on behalf of KPMG International. FT Remark interviewed 144 CFOs and CIOs from multinational companies with annual revenues of US$1 billion or more. A full report will be available in late November 2013.

About KPMG Capital
KPMG Capital is an investment fund which is not open to third party investment, and which will not itself provide professional services to clients. It is legally distinct and separate from KPMG International Cooperative and each other KPMG member firm.

About KPMG International 

KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services. We operate in 156 countries and have 152,000 people working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.


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Latest research by ARA and Roy Morgan show that retailers will spend $42.1 billion in pre-Christmas

PEAK retail industry body the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) said retailers could count on some steady improvement in retail sales over the Christmas period, based on 2013 Christmas sales predictions prepared by ARA research partner Roy Morgan Research.

ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said shoppers would put about $42.1 billion through retail tills from 14 November until 25 December, representing a 3.3 percent gain on sales during the same period in 2012 ($40.7 billion).

"The 3.3 percent growth may result in shoppers starting their Christmas shopping a little earlier this year, rather than leaving it until late December. However, we also know that the week before Christmas will remain the busiest time for pre-Christmas shopping, and therefore the most lucrative time for retailers.

"The ARA is pushing for an interest rate cut in December as retailers are counting on the lead up to Christmas as an opportunity to catch up on past slower retail sales and get back on track financially.

"With 6.2 percent predicted growth, apparel sales indicate an increase in consumer confidence for the Christmas period.  

"Much like 2012, food and hospitality are expected to account for a significant percent of the overall projected figure, while other categories such as department stores and clothing, footwear and personal accessories may rely on last minute Christmas sales and promotions for any significant growth in sales.

"It is encouraging to see all states and territories likely to experience positive growth for the 2013 pre-Christmas shopping period. Tasmania was the only state facing negative growth in 2012, so it is promising to see Tasmania predicted to flourish alongside the other states and territories this year," Mr Zimmerman said.  

Since 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has been the peak industry body representing Australia's $258 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 or call 1300 368 041

 Category 2012 pre Xmas
Actual results (millions)
2013 Forecast
 Xmas Sales (millions)
FOOD 16,803 17,334 3.2%
HH GOODS 6,829 7,017 2.8%
APPAREL 3,036 3,225 6.2%
DEPARTMENT STORES 2,890 2,926 1.2%
OTHER 5,726 5,901 3.1%
HOSPITALITY 5,444 5,675 4.2%
NATIONAL 40,728 42,077 3.3%

State 2012 pre Xmas Actual results (millions) 2013 Forecast Xmas Sales (millions) Predicted Growth
NSW 12,270 12,743 3.9%
VIC 10,163 10,511 3.4%
QLD   8511 8,827 3.7%
SA   2751 2,861 4.0%
WA   5033 5,058 0.5%
TAS     795 824 3.7%
NT     457 480 5.2%
ACT     748 772 3.2%
NATIONAL 40,728 42,077 3.3%

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Port zoning changes will support future trade growth while reducing red tape

The Victorian Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VECCI) welcomes the announcement of a new planning zone for Victoria’s major ports, along with streamlined planning controls.

VECCI Chief Executive Mark Stone says the changes will provide clarity and certainty to ensure the future development needs of our ports are met, while the introduction of streamlined planning controls will remove an unnecessary red tape burden.

“We have consistently highlighted the importance of improvements to Victoria’s port infrastructure to ensure we can meet the forecast growth in container freight and capitalise on international trade opportunities,” Mr Stone says.

“The plans announced today, while immediately supporting the Port of Melbourne redevelopment to ensure it remains Australia’s premier container port, will also support the long-term development of ports infrastructure across the state, including the future development of the Port of Hastings as an international container port.

“The ongoing development of our ports is vital to ensure we can efficiently and effectively meet our growing export opportunities, which will bring economic benefits to the entire state.”

The Victorian Employers' Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VECCI) is the peak body for employers in Victoria, informing and servicing more than 15,000 members, customers and clients around the state.



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CUA’s new core banking system sets it up for the future

CUA, Australia’s largest customer-owned financial institution and Tata Consultancy Services (BSE: 532540, NSE: TCS), a leading global IT Services, Business Solutions and Consulting firm, have successfully implemented a new core banking system, ensuring CUA’s capability to provide better priced, more flexible and innovative products and services to customers into the future.

CUA and TCS also simultaneously launched CUA’s new Online Banking service, using TCS BaNCS software.

According to Sue Coulter, General Manager, Business Transformation and Core Banking Project Director, this significant project underpins the company’s growth and transformation strategy as well as further strengthening its position as a leader among its peers and as a genuine challenger in the Australian financial services market.

“Our new core banking system provides a single integrated approach across all consumer banking products, including transaction banking, lending, mortgages and deposits, as well as online and mobile access. This level of real-time integration places CUA in a leading position within the retail banking industry in Australia.

“This hasn’t just been a large technology project; it has been the driver of significant business transformation. The replacement of a core banking system is an incredibly complex project and for an organisation of our size to manage such a smooth systems transition in tandem with the launch of a new Online Banking service is a great achievement,” said Ms Coulter.

Chris Whitehead, Chief Executive Officer, CUA, said, “Our extensive preparations – while certainly demanding on our people who balanced them against the continued delivery of business as usual – proved invaluable and we now have a system that gives us the flexibility we need for the future.

“Immediately following the transition of our systems, our priority was to ensure stabilisation and be available to assist our customers with any enquiries. We have worked hard to manage a few system changes to some of our payments and processes and have kept our customers fully informed every step of the way,” he said.

Like many financial institutions in Australia, CUA’s previous core banking system was over 20 years old.

The decision to replace it with a modern, scalable and configurable TCS BaNCS system ensures we will be able to improve internal processes and efficiencies, facilitate enhanced customer service and enable the development of better, more flexible products.

Colin Sword, Country Head, TCS Financial Solutions – Australia and New Zealand, said, “We are pleased to go live with our TCS BaNCS software solution at CUA. TCS BaNCS will assist CUA to automate its banking processes and provide best-in-class customer service, thereby maximising operational efficiency and minimizing risk. CUA’s new Online Banking platform will also provide customers with a modern, new look coupled with an easy to navigate Online Banking experience. I would like to congratulate CUA and the team on this transformation success.”

Across the duration of the project, the teams from CUA and TCS also worked closely with Cuscal which provided technical support and systems testing as well as critical support over the systems’ transition.

According to Mr Whitehead, CUA expects its new core banking system to bring significant customer and business benefits over the long term.

“The initial improvements from our new system are largely internally focused, including improved internal efficiencies, more user friendly and intuitive interfaces and streamlined processes. However, customers are already experiencing better service due to the single holistic view our frontline staff now have of their profile, product and service requirements and we expect to be able to introduce further customer and product improvements later this financial year,” he said.

The first release of CUA’s revamped Online Banking service offers customers an immediate range of improved features and functionality, including updated security via an SMS security code, enhanced menu options and the ability to open an eSaver or Term Deposit account quickly and easily.

Mr Whitehead concluded, “Like our old core banking system, our previous Web Banker system served us well, but was unable to meet our customers’ needs for the future. Our new Online Banking service gives us a platform to make ongoing feature and functionality improvements and we are already working on a range of short and long-term upgrades to ensure we provide the best possible service to our customers.”

About CUA

As Australia’s largest customer-owned financial institution, CUA provides banking services to more than 400,000 Australians across the country and is emerging as a competitive force in Australian banking. CUA is 100% owned by its customers, not shareholders, with profits reinvested back in to the business in the form of more competitive products, better interest rates and lower fees. For more information, please visit:

About Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. (TCS)

Tata Consultancy Services is an IT services, consulting and business solutions organization that delivers real results to global business, ensuring a level of certainty no other firm can match. TCS offers a consulting-led, integrated portfolio of IT, BPS, infrastructure, engineering and assurance services. This is delivered through its unique Global Network Delivery Model, recognised as the benchmark of excellence in software development. A part of the Tata group, India’s largest industrial conglomerate, TCS has over 285,250 of the world’s best-trained consultants in 44 countries. The company generated consolidated revenues of US $11.6 billion for year ended March 31, 2013 and is listed on the National Stock Exchange and Bombay Stock Exchange in India.

For more information, visit us at


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