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EOFY in Aus

I’ve been away from Australia for about 20 years, so many things have evolved. Sales and discount events used to be done only by department stores at the end of the year (after Christmas), closing down sales, and just random times. Now, all kinds of stores, companies, commercial groups are offering seasonal sales. These include American “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” events, Easter, Kings Birthday, Mothers Day, Fathers Day, End of Financial Year (EOFY*), Australia Day, … any excuse. This is great for customers when they can wait or have discretionary cash available. However, it can’t be all “good”.

These sales boosts through the year causes consumers to expect all businesses to offer discounts at the same time. It also means a race to the bottom in offering the lowest price. It also means that businesses won’t have a consistent flow of money through the year. If there is any unexpected event occuring at a sales weekend, like a severe storm, building damage, civil strife, it means that all your advertising money, employee scheduling, and stock preparation has all gone to waste; and you don’t get the money to pay for it, nor the money you need to fill up your bank account to hold you over until the next sales boost time.

Simultaneously, Sunday trading has become normalised. Sundays (the day we should go to church) was a day when you could truly relax. Only some petrol stations and errant corner stores and cafes might be open. Otherwise, Sunday was a non-commercial day in which neighbourhoods had people in them. People were home or engaged in community events.

Today, there are more people going to the shopping centres than churches. I’ve been driving for Uber on Sundays. I’ve driven more hungover people one home to their own homes, more people to gyms, more people and their pets to dog parks, than anyone going to churches.

End of Financial Year is a super busy time of year for sales and financial teams. Sales must be consolidated by midnight on the 30th June. Finance teams must be calculating employee salaries, taxes paid, and superannuation (Australia’s self-funded retirement investment system). Then have the employee info updated on the Australian Tax Office website within days of the start of the new financial year, so employees can do their taxes. Also, companies need to get their tax affairs in order too.

This year is a bit unusual. The EOFY is on a Friday. How does a shopping centre plan for that? What will sales on Saturday and Sunday be like? I guess shoppers will still be eager and motivated to get out to get that thing that’s been on their mind all week.

Regarding the cost of living crisis in Australia, two-thirds of Australians have accommodation stress. One-third of Australians have to stretch their budgets to afford the rising mortgage repayments. Another third of Australians are in rental accommodation, and are seeing their rents go up (some times more than 50% of their income). How will this affect shopping? I assume two-thirds of Australians will only shop for essentials (food and utilities) and essential replacement items (like to replace socks with holes). One third of Australians will shop for discretionary items, and gifts for family members who are in the two-third of financial stress.

Footnote: * EOFY is a new acronym that has arisen in the last twenty years in Australia.

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