Some future economic historian, or at least an honours student, will presumably write about what happened to Australian retailing between 2000 and, say, 2025, and chart how a lazy industry that exploited its customers' distance from, and ignorance of, other markets to gouge them was brought down by globalisation. The arrival of Amazon -- said to open today -- will be a key milestone. But it's only part of a much longer-term story that's about more than the internet.
Australian retailing was for a time around 2009-10 Australia's biggest employer, and still remains the second-biggest, with around 1.2 million full-time and part-time jobs. In recent years, however, it has been infected by a nasty mix of intensifying competition, technological change, weak consumer spending and the shift of spending away from retailing and managerial incompetence.