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When the going gets tough

Retailers pining for the good old days of healthy margins and full-employment–era consumer fundamentals are in for a shock if they think that the current retail climate is a largely cyclical phenomenon.  That’s the message from ANZ’s latest retail report, which has cast a sombre tone over the prospect of a retail turnaround anytime in the foreseeable future.  From below decade-average growth in operating profits (1.3 per cent year-on-year in December) and sales (two per cent industry