Martin Place siege – Live updatesGunman holds hostages in Lindt cafeStay clear of windows: police Cafe worker missed siege by momentsFlag in cafe window not Islamic State’s
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Sydney radio and television stations say hostages inside the Lindt cafe have contacted them to pass on demands from the man holding them at gunpoint in Martin Place.

Channel Nine, Channel Ten, 2GB and 2UE reported contact from the hostages.

Broadcaster Ray Hadley said they had spoken on the phone to hostages being held inside the Lindt Chocolat Cafe in Sydney’s Martin Place.

Hadley said on 2GB that the male hostage was “remarkably calm” when relaying information over the phone from the gunman about 1pm on Monday.

Hadley said he could hear the gunman talking in the background during the phone conversation.

The gunman wanted the hostage to speak live on radio, a demand that Hadley said he refused.

“I wouldn’t allow that to happen,” Hadley told his listeners.

“I told the hostage it would not be in his best interest or my best interest to allow that to happen because I’m not a trained negotiator, I don’t have any expertise in this, there are people who will talk to both the hostages and the person holding the hostages and they will be knowing what to do.”

Hadley said he had spoken to NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione about the phone call, and Mr Scipione had agreed that he shouldn’t allow the hostage to speak on air.

Hadley claimed the gunman was talking about “other operatives being involved”, and said he was instructed to call back on the same number in 10 minutes.

“They talked about a password they would give me in 10 minutes. I have no idea what that means, what it’s about,” Hadley said.

“I could hear the person in the background giving instructions to the young man I was talking to.

“The young man, remarkably, was quite calm, quite calm, and he was quite happy for us to have his phone number and said ‘I want you to ring me back in 10 minutes for further instructions from the man holding us hostage.’ “

Police have not confirmed Hadley’s claims.

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Free: a hostage is taken away by paramedics. Photo: Andrew MearesMartin Place siege over: live updatesPolice storm Lindt CafeThe gunman: Man Haron Monis
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What we do know

The siege is over. Police stormed the building after hostages began running from the cafe just after 2am. Multiple shots were fired.

Three people are confirmed dead. One deceased person is the gunman, aged 50.

The other two deceased were hostages: a 34-year-old man, Tori Johnson, who was the Lindt store manager and Sydney barrister Katrina Dawson, aged 38.

A policeman was also shot in the face. His injuries are not critical.

NSW Police have launched a critical incident investigation.

The gunman is Man Haron Monis. He was out on bail for numerous charges including accessory to murder and sexual assault. He is not believed to have any formal links to any terror organisation.

Monis was a “self-styled cleric” with no role in any mosque. The gunman had previously sent letters to the families of Australian soliders killed in Afghanistan and to political leaders, including former prime minister Kevin Rudd and Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

He was granted asylum in Australia in 1996. He was born in Iran.

There were 17 hostages inside the Lindt cafe. Five escaped on Monday. Six escaped uninjured just after 2am on Tuesday. Two of the remaining hostages were confirmed dead.

NSW Police media have given the following information on those wounded:

– A 75-year-old female who received a gunshot wound to the shoulder – stable condition.

– A 52-year-old female who received a gunshot wound to the foot – stable condition.

– A 43-year old female with a gunshot wound to the leg – stable condition

– A 39-year-old male who received a minor facial injury due to gunshot – treated at hospital and discharged. [This man is a police officer.]

– A 35-year old pregnant female assessed for health and welfare purposes – stable.

– A 30-year-old pregnant female assessed for health and welfare purposes – stable.

Videos emerging on Tuesday morning have hostages being forced to make statements of demands with claims that Monis was associated with the Islamic State terror group.

The NSW Premier Mike Baird has invited members of the public to lay floral tributes. People wishing to lay a floral tribute to the victims are invited to do so at Martin Place. — Mike Baird (@mikebairdMP) December 15, 2014Read More →

Celebrities: couldn’t live as them, can’t live without them. Yes, 2014 was another banner year for the ins and outs of those who breathe the rarefied air of tinseltown: from photo leaks to drunken awards show after-parties and the matches, hatches and dispatches, these are L&S’ top stories of 2014. Celebrity Photo Hack
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It’s hard to say (hint: it’s not really) whether it was well-meaning empathy of the “gosh, how awful for them”, or just plain old fashioned grubby rubbernecking, but if there was one story everybody wanted to know about this year, it was the mass hacking and leaking of female celebrities’ private photos. Jennifer Lawrence became the unwilling figurehead for the scandal, calling the hack a sex crime, and telling Vanity Fair, “Just because I’m a public figure, just because I’m an actress, does not mean that I asked for this.” Damn right. Peaches Geldof Dies

In a sad mirroring of her mother Paula’s death in 2000, Peaches Geldof died, at the age of 25, of an accidental overdose in April. Despite what many uncharitable naysayers said, Geldof was a bright spark and a witty media presence; as her devastated father Bob put it, she was “[the] wildest, funniest, cleverest, wittiest and the most bonkers of all of us”. Celebs Go Wild After The Golden Globes

Celebs: they’re just like us! In that they drink immense amounts of expensive alcohol while wearing millions of dollars of jewellery in the company of fellow celebrities and probably eating desserts made with the tears of angels and 24 karat gold leaf (just a hunch). Royals Arrive In NZ

Ordinarily, Australians are circumspect about any Royal Family activity – that all changed when Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George of Cambridge arrived in Wellington on a windy day in April, and it set off three weeks of demented nationwide Royal-watching. George Clooney’s Wedding

Well, well, well, Mr “I don’t believe in marriage anymore” sure changed his tune with that whole multi-day spectacular in Venice to celebrate his marriage to Amal Alamuddin. It was all very un-Clooney – flotillas! Fancy canapes! The photo spread in OK! Magazine! – and was so damned Kennedy-esque it had some speculating that perhaps George has his sights set on an eventual political career. Charlotte Dawson Dies

There was tragic news in February when much-loved media personality and brilliant broad Charlotte Dawson was found dead in her home. “She touched a lot of people,” her long-term manager Mark Byrne said. “She took me under her wing and was my first big client. She was a friend and mentor as well. She had an acerbic wit and such a media savvy mind – her brain ate media for breakfast.” Renee Zellweger’s Face

There’s something about Renee… or is there? Appearing at a red carpet event after some time out of the spotlight, Zellweger looked different, sure, but perhaps that’s because most media outlets chose a 15-year-old photo for their compare-and-contrast features. For her part, America’s former sweetheart said, “I’m glad folks think I look different! I’m living a different, happy, more fulfilling life, and I’m thrilled that perhaps it shows.” Kim & Kanye’s Wedding Photobooth

The wedding to end all weddings, Kimye’s matrimonial juggernaut was exactly as unsubtle as everyone expected it to be, but it was the (relatively) intimate shots from inside the reception photobooth that most captivated you all: plenty of duckface from a variety of Kardashians, and Kanye looking pleased that he had finally made his dreams come true. James Packer’s Punch On

It was a schadenfreude spectacular when two of Australia’s richest media moguls went toe-to-toe in Bondi back in May. Well, “toe-to-toe” is a generous description: it was really more of an impression of two wombats rolling around on the grass.  Paris Hilton’s Birthday Cake Burgled

And finally, the year’s most ridiculous-yet-oddly-heartwarming old story: for some reason, the news (from 2011) that a burglar named Paz nicked a giant red velvet cake worth $US3200 ($3212) from Paris Hilton’s house after her February birthday somehow made its way back into our most-read list; think of it a bit like albums unexpectedly re-entering the hit parade while you think of Paz carving the cake up into 125 delicious slices and giving them to Los Angeles’ homeless.

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Man Haron Monis outside a Sydney court in February 2010. Photo: Kate GeraghtyThe man behind Sydney’s siege, Man Haron Monis, expressed outrage about Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s “Team Australia” comments in a series of online tirades and has a long history of directing hatred at senior politicians.
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Most notorious for sending abusive letters to the families of Australian soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan, Monis also has a lengthy track record of attacking politicians on social media, including Mr Abbott and his predecessor Kevin Rudd.

In extensive posts, he has claimed to be under “constant attack” by the Australian government and has compared himself to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, saying false charges, including sexual assault, have been made against him for “political reasons”.

Just last week Monis – who had more than 14,000 “likes” on social networking site Facebook – branded Australians who supported the United States and its foreign policy “racist and terrorist” on his Facebook page, which late on Monday night was taken down.

“Shame on Team Australia and shame on those racist and terrorist Australians who support the governments of America and its allies including Australia.”

The Facebook page bills itself as a “counter terrorism” page and states “it is ‘Team Islam’ against Australian oppression and terrorism.”

He went on to congratulate Muslims who had “chosen ‘Team Islam'”.

In a letter to Mr Abbott on November 1, 2013, Monis wrote – in what can now be seen as a chilling portent of Monday’s siege – attacked the Prime Minister for declaring Australia’s mission to Afghanistan over during a visit to Tarin Kowt military base.

Monis argued that Australia’s policy in Afghanistan “has a significant role in jeopardising security and peace in the world especially in Australia”, challenged the Prime Minister to a debate about the Afghan war and promised to support government policy if he lost the debate.

“However, if it is proven in our debate that the government’s policy endangered Australia, if it is proven the government made Australia unsafe, if it is proven that Australia and Australians will be attacked, in that case I expect you to change the Australia’s (sic) policy.”

Monis last week praised the Islamic State group for its provision of services in Syria and Iraq – though most experts say that such services are largely used for propaganda and in fact the group predominantly terrorises local populations.

He has also claimed to be one of the “victims and witnesses of the torture by the barbaric and terrorist Australian authorities”.

And Monis has also attacked former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, including after Mr Rudd criticised the self-styled preacher over the letters he sent to dead soldiers’ families.

Mr Rudd said at the time: “I think people … I think their stomachs turn.”

Mr Rudd vowed to review Australia’s immigration laws after Iranian-born Monis – who arrived in Australia in 1996 as a refugee – was charged with seven counts of harassment over the letters to soldiers’ families.

As recently as December 5, Monis was still fulminating on Facebook about Mr Rudd’s comments, insisting it was up to God as to whether he would be deported from Australia.

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Fay Jackson didn’t get her first permanent job until she was 40.
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It was only a couple of days a week, yet within two years she had become the director of the health service that gave her that chance.

Today Ms Jackson is a deputy commissioner of the NSW Mental Health Commission, which on Monday released a major strategic plan for mental health in this state.

Before the news of the CBD terror attack spread on Monday morning, Premier Mike Baird, Mental Health Minister Jai Rowell, and Health Minister Jillian Skinner were at  Wayside Chapel in Kings Cross to launch a radical, all-of-government approach that aims to stop people with mental illnesses such as Ms Jackson from being excluded from work and social life.

After having symptoms of mental illness from about the age of 10, Ms Jackson dropped out of school in year 10 and was unable to get help until her problems reached crisis point and she  ended up in hospital.

By that point she was told by doctors she would never be well enough to hold down a job, never be a valuable member of society.

“Now I’m living a recovered, contributing life,” Ms Jackson said. “I love being a taxpayer and I wish I could have been a taxpayer since I was a teenager.”

A key part of the plan, which will come with $115 million in extra funding rolled out during the next three years, is a shift to ensure people receive help in the community before their illness reaches crisis point.

The money will go mostly to the non-government sector and will target early intervention for children and families, but also aim to get people with chronic mental illnesses back into the community.

Premier Mike Baird said the funding would also send a signal to local health districts about how they should be planning mental healthcare, and aiming to keep people out of hospital.

“I think this is a historic day for the state of NSW in terms of the difference we are going to make,” he said.

Mental Health Minister Jai Rowell said almost 50 per cent of the population would experience some mental health issues in their lifetime.

“Mental illness doesn’t discriminate, it can affect anyone, anywhere, anytime … that’s why these reforms are so important,” he said.

The commission has recommended a “no-wrong-door” approach to mental health planning that will involve schools, front-line government workers and the judiciary being given mental health training and literacy.

Schools will have increased services for children with complex needs, while the government will also increase the number of “whole family teams” to provide specialist intervention in the homes of parents who have drug and alcohol or mental health problems.

For those who have already developed mental health problems, the government has announced new funding will be directed towards expanding community support. Some people already in community care will receive funding for up to 15 per cent more hours of community treatment, while the government will expand housing support programs and develop personalised plans to gradually shift 380 people who have lived in long-term psychiatric care back into the community.

Mental Health Commission head John Feneley said the shift in government policy was “transformational”.

“What we are talking about today is one of those once-in-a-generation things where you either take the opportunity or you fail,” he said.

“There’s nothing wrong with the hospital system, but like all illnesses you really only want to use them when it’s really necessary”.

The commission’s report, also released on Monday, called on NSW to move from spending the least of any state or territory on community mental health, to spending the most, by 2017.

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ASIC’s Greg Tanzer says auditors must be appropriately qualified. Photo: Louise KennerleyAustralia’s corporate regulator has cancelled the registration of 440 self-managed superannuation fund auditors after they failed to meet competency standards.
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The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has also disqualified two self-managed super fund (SMSF) auditors.

The regulator said of the 440 auditors whose registration was cancelled, 373 did not attempt the exam and 67 did not pass the exam. Auditors were given up to two attempts to pass it. ASIC oversees the registration of thousands of SMSF auditors.

“As the SMSF sector continues to grow in popularity with Australian investors, it is critical that SMSF auditors play their key gatekeeping role,” commissioner Greg Tanzer said.

“ASIC will continue to administer the registration process to assure Australians that SMSF auditors at least meet base standards of competency and expertise.”

The regulator has also separately been looking at ­self-managed super fund seminars for evidence of misleading and deceptive conduct, following a sharp rise in promoters recommending that investors either set up or use an existing fund to invest in property.

The financial systems inquiry headed by former Commonwealth Bank boss David Murray suggested SMSFs not be allowed to leverage into property. It recommended banning limited recourse borrowing because of concerns it could, over time, increase risk in the financial system. The ban suggested would only apply to future sales, rather than forcing funds to unwind existing property holdings.

In the meantime both ASIC and the Australian Taxation Office will continue to monitor the sector.

SMSF auditors who have had their registrations cancelled can re-apply for registration if they have passed the competency exam in no more than two attempts over 12 months.

From July last year the law has required all auditors of SMSFs be registered with ASIC and meet minimum competency requirements.

ASIC approved 7038 of the SMSF auditor registration applications before July last year, with 1421 of these being registered on the condition that they passed the exam by July 1 this year.

ASIC said the SMSF auditors with an exam condition had audited fewer than 20 SMSFs in the 12 months prior to their application and that they were not registered company auditors.

Technical director at the SMSF Professionals’ Association of Australia, Graeme Colley, said the industry body supports ASIC’s move to weed out the auditors who were failing to meet the required standards.

“People should have done the exam and some didn’t,” he said. “These people exaggerated what they actually did – we support the actions of ASIC.”

SMSFs represent the fastest growing segment of Australia’s $1.8 trillion retirement savings sector.

Data from the Australian Taxation Office showed that there were 534,176 SMSFs in June this year, with over 1.01 million members.

SMSF trustees are seen as the most lucrative segment of the superannuation sector, with financial planners and accountants often vying aggressively for their business and fees. Around 40 per cent of trustees’ assets are lumped in Australian shares, and 20 per cent in cash.

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Application upheld: Brian Bradbury during a public appeal in 2012 for information about his wife’s killing. Photo: Wolter PeetersThe NSW government has been ordered to pay the legal costs of a Sydney hospital cleaner who was accused of the brutal murder of his wife only for the charges to be withdrawn due to a lack of evidence, days before his trial.
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Brian Thomas Bradbury was accused of hog-tying and bludgeoning Lynette Bradbury, 52, with a dumbbell at their home in Oatlands on Halloween night in 2011.

The grandfather pleaded not guilty and a six-week jury trial was set down to begin in the NSW Supreme Court on November 3.

But on October 27, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Lloyd Babb, SC, decided the case shouldn’t go ahead “because there was no reasonable prospect of conviction” and the murder charge was dropped four days later.

On Monday, Acting Justice Matthews upheld an application by Mr Bradbury and his legal team for remuneration from the state for his legal costs, likely to have run into the thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars.

Acting Justice Matthews upheld Mr Bradbury’s argument that it was not reasonable for the prosecution to commence proceedings against him given the facts in the case.

“On the face of the Crown case statement, it always seemed to me that this was a particularly weak circumstantial case,” Acting Justice Matthews said.

“It largely depended on inferences to be drawn from difficulties in their relationship because of Mr Bradbury’s gambling, from the fact that there had been no forcible entry to the house and there had been only minimal disturbance inside it, and a few other relatively minor factors.”

Acting Justice Matthews noted that the absence of forced entry was rendered insignificant by the fact that the laundry door was left unlocked on the day in question.

Further, a neighbour later told police that before the killing she had overheard three youths walking past the house discussing a robbery and declaring “let’s do it on Halloween”.

On the evening of the killing another neighbour saw three young men of similar description walking towards the house, one of whom was cradling a piece of timber in his arms.

The Crown argued that because Mr Bradbury had waived his right to a committal, and not sought a formal notice of abandonment of the proceedings, the state was not obliged to pay his legal costs.

But Justice Matthews rejected this argument.

It is now up to the NSW Attorney General to determine the size of Mr Bradbury’s legal costs and to reimburse him accordingly.

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Khyarne Biles, Murray Haar, Jessica Wade, Laura Fitzgerald, Tyron Clayworth, Haylee Solomons celebrate the graduation of six Indigenous doctors from UNSW.Six new Indigenous Australian doctors graduated from the University of NSW on Monday, the highest number in a single year and a record the university is already planning to beat with another 10 on track to graduate next year.
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“Having Indigenous doctors is important for Indigenous health and these medical graduates are a bit like a light on the hill for other Indigenous students,” said UNSW’s Dean of Medicine Peter Smith.

“It’s all part of the cycle for improving things. Indigenous graduates will have a better understanding of the cultural needs of the Indigenous community and also, having Indigenous students in our program acculturates the other students to understand an Indigenous point of view and issues.

“It’s not just about the doctors these students will be when they graduate, it’s the influence they have on the medical school and the medical class.”

Three of the six new doctors are planning to work in rural areas.

Khyarne Biles, who is going to work in Dubbo, said: “I grew up in Dubbo and there’s a high number of Indigenous people there, and I can offer to help. In the end, that’s where my heart is.

“Obviously, it’s an opportunity for me to give back to the community, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous.”

Tyron Clayworth, who wants to be a rural GP, said graduating “is like a dream, it’s just surreal”.

“My grandma tells a story about how she gave me a plastic stethoscope when I was five and I’ve wanted to be a doctor ever since then, so it’s incredible that it’s actually happened,” said Mr Clayworth.

“I think I’m a role model in the sense that if I can do it, anyone can. I’m not the best student but I just knuckled down and worked really hard.”

There are currently 49 Indigenous students enrolled in medicine at UNSW and a total of 310 across the country.

The six new graduates bring the number of Indigenous doctors in Australia to 204. About 2895 are needed to achieve population parity.

In 2008, the Australian Government committed to the Close the Gap initiative to achieve equality in health outcomes and life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians by 2031.

The life expectancy for Indigenous Australians is currently about 11 years behind that of other Australians, and the gap in health outcomes is widening for a variety of conditions including diabetes, heart and kidney disease and asthma.

“We made a decision some years ago to play our part in improving Indigenous health outcomes by putting our efforts into graduating Indigenous doctors,” said Mr Smith.

“The completion rate for Indigenous students is not any different from non-Indigenous students. People say ‘well you bring them into medicine and then what happens’, well the completion rate is roughly the same.

“All we want is for them to graduate and be successful, and be beacons for Indigenous success in the country.”

All six of the students received residential scholarships and help from the university’s Indigenous support program. Mr Smith is calling for the introduction of government funding to improve the number of Indigenous graduates in the field of medicine and in other areas.

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A screenshot from Channel Seven of tactical police as hostages leave the Lindt cafe. Photo: Channel Seven NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn: Task Force Pioneer has been activated for the first time. Photo: Les Smith
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NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn addresses the media on Monday. Photo: Kate Geraghty

Martin Place siege – Live updatesGunman holds hostages in Lindt cafeStay clear of windows: police Cafe worker missed siege by momentsFlag in cafe window not Islamic State’s

The NSW Police have activated Task Force Pioneer, meaning the hostage situation in Sydney’s Martin Place is seen as a terrorist attack against the city.

Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn announced the taskforce had been activated just before 4pm on Monday. It is not the first time Pioneer has been used but police would not say when, and where, it had been activated previously.

Task Force Pioneer is headed up by Assistant Commissioner Mark Murdoch. Mr Murdoch is the force’s counter-terrorism boss. He is also the man who oversaw the lengthy siege-style situation at Mosman in 2011 when a suspected collar-bomb was placed on teenager Madeline Pulver.

Ms Burn made the announcement moments after three men managed to escape from the Lindt Chocolat Cafe, six hours after the hostage situation began. Two other workers managed to escape a short time later. On Monday night it remained unclear how many people were inside the cafe.

Task Force Pioneer, used only when responding to a terrorism-related incident, means a co-ordinated police operations centre has been established. Regular briefings will also be held to keep the public aware of what is happening.

“We still don’t know what the motivation might be,” Ms Burn said. “But in terms of our protocols we’ve set up our command and control protocols.”

“When we do have a major incident such as this, we set up our police operations centre … so that we are ensuring that we have the best police response, that includes investigators, that includes logistics, that includes all resources and long-term planning.”

Ms Burn said an exclusion zone was in place.

“We have a perimeter set up and the perimeter is around Hunter Street, Pitt, King and Elizabeth [streets],” she said.

“Aside from trains not stopping at Martin Place, the network is operating as it normally would.”

Ms Burn said police negotiators had made contact with the gunman but his motive was still not clear and warned that it was unhelpful to speculate what might have sparked Monday’s attack.

“Police negotiators have had contact and they continue to have contact and we will work through this,” she said. “As long as nobody gets hurt, we want to resolve this peacefully. That’s what we are working towards.

“Our negotiators are extremely experienced and skilled at what we are doing.”

Earlier, Commissioner Andrew Scipione stopped short of calling the incident a terrorism event but said police had moved to a footing similar to dealing with a terrorist attack.

He said at the time police were dealing with a hostage situation with an armed offender.

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Priceline Pharmacy Photo: Adam McLeanCarolyn Cummins
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The battle for supremacy in the cosmetics market, triggered by the arrival of Sephora, has started, with rival Priceline Pharmacy firing the first salvo.

In a quickfire campaign, CBD shoppers were given $10 Priceline vouchers recently, aimed at reminding customers that the store sold a large variety of cosmetics and beauty accessories.

They were distributed from a pop-up booth in Sydney’s city Pitt Street Mall.

Sephora is the largest seller of beauty and cosmetics under one roof. It opened in Sydney on December 5 and will be a direct threat to department stores Myer and David Jones, as well as other cosmetic merchants, in a sector that generates high margins for the stores.

It has 1500 standalone stores around the world and plans to open 20 in Australia with an aim of snaring 10 per cent of the lucrative cosmetics market.

To show their own strength, Priceline Pharmacy has added to its large network, with two new shops in Sydney CBD at the Galleries (Victoria), being the ex-Kookai site on George Street, and at 710 George Street in Chinatown.

Retail experts said the entry of Sephora will comprehensively affect the Australian department stores, challenging the traditional retail model around beauty products (makeup, fragrances, skincare, etc), where Myer and David Jones have not had to compete with a large, global, vertically integrated player with a strong brand, low cost base and developed online offering.

Macquarie Equities analysts agreed the entry of Sephora will affect the Australian department stores, challenging the traditional retail model around beauty products.

“We estimate revenue of about 1 per cent to 2 per cent of group sales come from Sydney City cosmetics department alone, which is most at risk from the entry of Sephora,” the brokers said.

“A Macquarie survey indicates Myer is more exposed to competition in cosmetics as 98 per cent of Myer customers in Sydney expect to visit Sephora.”

The Macquarie report added that in the Myer first quarterly results, sales conference, the management highlighted cosmetics as the “standout performer … having delivered 10 consecutive quarters of growth”.

“The impact on the second quarter comparative sales for Myer will likely be material given it opened on December 5,” the Macquarie analysts said, “the start of the key Christmas-January trading period. We estimate cosmetics account for 15 per cent to 20 per cent of sales while also being the most productive category. We estimate cosmetics account for about 25 per cent [to] 30 per cent of earnings. The competitive impact of Sephora is likely to impact both sales and margins, increasing as the Sephora store rollout progresses to other major retail centres.”

Mark O’Keefe, general manager of marketing for Priceline Pharmacy, said the December campaign aims to capitalise on what is typically high traffic in Sydney, especially the CBD, in the lead-up to Christmas.

“The Outdoor campaign has given us the perfect canvas to set out our beauty credentials, whilst reinforcing that as a pharmacy we meet all health needs as well,” Mr O’Keefe said.

Leif Olson, director retail services at CBRE, said is “fantastic to see a retailer taking their competition head-on using effective marketing to do it”.

“Australian retailers should employ more of these tactics,” Mr Olson said.

“Retailers are not sitting back watching their slice of the pie disappearing to internationals coming into the market.

“Another retailer that has used some great marketing has been  Charles Tyrwhitt, a shirtmaker from London. They have flooded newspapers and magazines with brochures advertising  affordable business shirts.”

Mr Olson said “CT” has not hit the Australian shores with bricks and mortar stores, only online. They have recently had their advertising on the back of Virgin domestic boarding passes, which is an innovative, targeted marketing to their customer.

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