A taxing problem for retailers

THERE, there, Bernie. 

Bernie Brookes, the man famous for leading Myer and insulting disabled people, has criticised the government for confusing his customers with taxes.

According to Mr Brookes, the latest budget stall has turned the economy foul and meant retailers have had to fight uphill for the shopper dollar.

Myer has had to content itself with prime CBD real estate, a brand recognisable by any Australian with a pulse and the largest department store business in the country to keep itself afloat in an economic situation an angry subcontractor at the RSL last night described as "those bloody commies' fault".

Mr Brookes said that consumers are avoiding retail as confusion mounts over which and how many taxes will apply to stock that had never previously displayed which and how many taxes applied in the first place.

Regular Myer shopper Ben Digobank said the calculations were driving him to distraction.

"It's a nightmare having to imagine someone at head office calculating all the taxes I have to pay on this wonderful toaster I'm buying for only $79.95 down from $119.95 only here at Myer," he said.

"I can't keep track of whether I'm supposed to be using double-entry or triple-bottom-line accounting.

"I think I'll just avoid this altogether and just shop online in the hope that nobody hacks my naked selfies."

Lower profit margins have spooked investors, causing an 8 per cent fall in Myer shares and a refusal from Mr Brookes to announce a 2015 profit forecast.

Share market analyst Justin Bieber said the problem came down to Myer's market position.

"Myer's problem comes down to being sandwiched between the more upmarket David Jones and the more agile boutique stores.

"The economic slowdown has also brought budget department stores like Kmart, Target and the Courier Mail into consideration.

"Keep in mind that Myer is still riding high on its performance during the GFC as Ophelia."

Head of the Australian Chamber of Regional Business and Business (ARAB) Bob  Kringlemary, said it was time for the federal government to cease its bickering and give some certainty for retailers.

"Mr Brookes' comments are more or less where we're at with our thinking on the economy," he said.

"What we're less aligned with is how much complaining he's doing.

"He's got an enormous department store and access to the largest customer bases in the country, what's his problem?

"He should come out here and try run a small business on the main street of Gympie or Biloela for two weeks, that'll get him his business chops."

Frisky Business is a satirical column by Kieran Bicheno

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