May 2017 Update

In this edition of the ASGA Update you’ll find articles about:


Inside Retail Logo   

Is underinvestment hurting Australian retail?

An opinion article in Inside Retail by Brian Walker, founder and CEO of the Retail Doctor Group, suggests Australian retailers are suffering because of a lack of investment.

In the article Mr Walker says capital investment in key areas such as fit outs and business information systems have been somewhat overlooked until absolutely necessary – and our capitalisation per square metre has been traditionally below many of our international counterparts.

While we have been an island in global retail, our focus on trading profits has been well understood and now we see great change. Accordingly, many of our leading mid-market retailers of the last 10 years or so are starting to feel the effects of underinvestment in these key areas. Take any of our country’s known speciality retailers operating nationally, and I suspect that some of their fit outs won’t have made discernible differences in shops designs, layout, look and feel of the shop they opened in 2007 (or in some cases 1997).

He goes on to say “We need to think coverage and community, rather than the traditional investment of out flanking competitors by building bigger and/or more. These large legacy retailers are being replaced by cathedral like customer showroom retailing, integrated with seamless and fast feeders such as social communities and online/ digital channels.”

To read the full article please visit the Inside Retail website.


PFL Logo   

WSOF rebranding as Professional Fighters League

The World Series of Fighting (WSOF) is rebranding, with the Professional Fighters League to debut in January 2018, putting up $10 million dollars in prize money over seven weight divisions.

According to an article on MMA Junkie, the new promotion will feature a regular season during which fighters will compete in superfights. At the end of each season, those with the best records will advance to a single-elimination postseason playoff tournament over seven weight divisions.

PFL Executive Chairman, Russ Ramsey, is quoted as saying “The Professional Fighters League brings a proven sports format that fans love and athletes respect to MMA for the first time. The launch of the (PFL) continues the evolution of MMA into a professional, mass-market, prime-time sport for a global audience.”

Ramsey, who once served as the chair for Washington, D.C.’s bid to host the 2024 Olympics, joins venture capitalists Donn Davis and Mark Leschly as the promotion’s new executives, which reportedly purchased WSOF’s assets for $25 million.

To read more about the rebranding, please visit the MMA Junkie website.


Athletic Business Logo   

How much exercise in enough?

In an article on Athletic Business, Jennifer Graham asks how much exercise is enough?

For 10 years, the American College of Sports Medicine has been trying to convince a sedentary public that exercise is medicine, as good for what ails us as over-the-counter or prescription pills.

What began as a national campaign morphed into a global initiative, with the goal of getting physicians to prescribe exercise to their patients and suggest that they get “physical activity counseling.”

But although the association between exercise and health is widely accepted, there seems to be no consensus on how much physical activity we need for optimal health. The World Health Organization recommends 2½ hours a week. A study funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation last year recommended five times that amount. And now there’s recent research suggesting that people who exercise only on weekends can reap significant health benefits.

While the studies seem contradictory, they have one thing in common: They conclude the more exercise you do, the healthier you’ll be – up to a point.

To read the full article please visit the Athletic Business website.


Roy Morgan Logo   

More Australians using social messaging services

Businesses should be looking at how they can include social messaging as part of their marketing mix, according to research by Roy Morgan. In the six months to December, the number of Australians (aged 14+) who used Facebook Messenger via mobile phone in an average four weeks grew 19 percent compared with the year before, to 6.5 million—or almost one in three people.

Facebook-owned WhatsApp also grew strongly, up 15 percent to 2.2 million average monthly users. Skype was virtually steady with just over 1.6 million users, but Viber fell 28 percent to 869,000. 

Whether for instant messaging, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) calls, or video chat, usage of Over-The-Top (OTT) communication apps like those mentioned above (that use data rather than traditional phone and SMS services), continued to rise in 2016 – and will likely only increase over time.

In a media release, Michelle Levine, CEO of Roy Morgan Research, said “Large customer-facing retail, travel, and finance businesses would do well to investigate how many of their customers are using WhatsApp as a primary communication tool.”  

For more information about the rise of social messaging, please click through to the Roy Morgan media release.


Penn State Health Logo   

Water better than ‘sports drinks’ for kids

Water is a better bet than sports drinks for young athletes, sports medicine specialists say.

In an article on Medline Plus, Dr. Matthew Silvis, director of primary care sports medicine at Penn State Health Medical Center said most youngsters don’t exert themselves at an intensity or duration that requires the extra sugar and salt contained in sports drinks.

“Sports drinks can replenish some of what you lost during exercise, but you really need to be exercising for more than 45 minutes to an hour before you would consider that,” Silvis said.

“Many of our kids are not doing enough to warrant it,” he added in a university news release. Also, giving children sports drinks with extra sugar puts them at risk for weight gain and tooth decay, Silvis and his colleagues noted.

Dr. Katie Gloyer is a primary care sports medicine physician at Penn State Medical Group, in State College. She agreed that “kids and adolescents really should not be using these drinks. Water is the best method of hydration.”

To read more about the study please take a look at the article on Medline Plus.


SLI Systems Logo   

Online retailer confidence strong

Online retailing continues to prove its resilience with strong growth and a positive forecast for 2017, according to a new e-commerce report published by SLI Systems.

The E-Commerce Performance Indicators and Confidence (EPIC) report found 94 per cent of retail professionals surveyed expected to expand their businesses during Q1. When respondents were asked about expected results in Q1 2017 compared to the same quarter last year, the vast majority cited performance improvements across an array of factors, including online revenue, site conversion, mobile transactions and site traffic.

Respondents to the report represent a mix of retail business models, including pure e-commerce, as well as omnichannel merchants. In addition, 87 per cent of respondents work in a manager position or above and 20 per cent hold VP- or C-level positions. The full report is available for download for no cost at

The EPIC Report includes a detailed Respondent Overview, Confidence and Performance Indicators, Top of Mind (anticipated business impact of the new U.S. presidential administration) and Search Trend Analysis, benchmarking the average number of words in a site search query.

To read more about the EPIC report, please visit the SLI media release.


MediLine Plus Logo   

Mid-life exercise could job your memory

New Australian research, discussed in an article on Medline Plus, found middle-age folks can improve their thinking and memory skills by adopting regular moderate-to-vigorous routines involving aerobic and resistance exercise.

“When we combined the available data from [39 previous] studies, we were able to show that undertaking physical exercise was able to improve the brain function of people aged 50 and over,” said study lead author Joseph Northey. He’s a doctoral candidate and teaching fellow at the University of Canberra Research Institute for Sport and Exercise in Australia.

The review included 18 studies that looked at the impact of aerobic exercise — such as walking, running and swimming — on thinking, alertness, information processing, executing goals and memory skills.

Resistance training was the focus of 13 studies. Another 10 studies looked at various types of exercise done in combination. And, a handful of studies specifically explored the impact of tai chi and yoga on brain health.

The researchers determined that exercise did help brain health. However, different forms of exercise were linked to different types of benefits.

To read more about this research please visit the article on Medline Plus.