With all this talk from retailers like Gerry Harvey about the decline of retail spending at Australian outlets is overseas online shopping really a threat to the OZ retail sector?
Retailers under threat from online stores: Harvey
The boss of Harvey Norman, Gerry Harvey, says local retailers are under threat from online stores and is calling for online purchases from overseas to be taxed.
He says at the moment offshore online retailers have the upper hand.
"They don't pay any taxes, they haven't got any overheads, there's incremental sales and that's where they make their money. In the end they just put up their hands. Enough of this happens, they just put up their hands and say I can't stay in business," he said.
He concedes the strong local currency is a major factor driving online shopping, but that does not excuse the fact that offshore operations have, what he calls a competitive advantage.
Currently consumers can purchase goods online from overseas under $1000 without paying GST.
He is calling for the government to address the issue and impose the GST on online purchases that come from overseas.
"A good government would look at it, anticipate the problems, and start doing something about it. They wouldn't sit there and just ignore it and say it's too hard. But guess what they'll do. They'll sit there, they'll ignore it, it'll be too difficult, they'll make excuses, then later on [say] 'Oh yes we should have done something back there. I wish we'd been a bit smarter'," he said