Few sectors generate as much notoriety (and as much wealth) as the retail sector. But while once high-flying Australian retailers struggle to cope with the changing face of the sector, globally, the story has been very different.
Along with manufacturing and media, Australia retailers have largely borne witness to collapsing, rather than expanding, fortunes. Perhaps most notably has been the destruction of Gordon Merchant’s Billabong empire. In 2007, Merchant’s stake in Billabong was worth more than $1 billion. Today, that holding is valued at around $60 million (it is unknown whether Merchant has any debt attached to his interest).