Boom time for bling

Some segments of the auction scene have collapsed in the past decade, but sales of fine jewellery are thriving.
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Sotheby’s Australia held four stand-alone auctions of what they called important jewels in 2012, with a combined sale total of $4,707,852. (All figures include buyer’s premium.)

The best single result for the year was for a diamond ring sold for $222,000 in September.

At the most recent sale, in Sydney on December 4, Sotheby’s achieved results of $1,454,460. This was three-quarters of the volume and value sought. A highlight was a pair of diamond earrings, sold for $168,000.

”We continue to see strong demand for quality gemstones and designer jewels,” says the chairman of Sotheby’s Australia, Geoffrey Smith, who introduced specialist sales of jewellery a few years ago. Previously this market existed mainly as a subsection of decorative arts.

While Smith thinks there could be an investment factor driving the boom, he says emotions are the main reason.

”Jewels are so personal,” he says, noting that most of the items sold are destined to be worn, not stored in a safe.

”If people see an opportunity to purchase a quality piece, they will – but you must always add the emotional component.”

Sotheby’s plans to stage three specialist auctions this year, plus a private sale and exhibition next month (details are below).

Demand is now greater than the supply of high-quality product.

”Jewels are an international currency,” Smith says. ”When we consign – especially diamonds – we have interest from trade and collectors around the world. These days, it’s a global market, especially for the known brands.”

Traditional brands – such as Harry Winston, Bulgari, Cartier, Tiffany & Co, Van Cleef & Arpels – are making a comeback on the secondary market because of the quality of the materials.

But there are some new players. In December, a significant collection of contemporary pearl jewellery by Australian company Paspaley performed well through Sotheby’s, with all items sold after some competitive bidding.

A highlight was the South Sea pearl, opal and diamond necklace that sold for $42,000, well above estimates of $10,000 to $15,000.

While classic jewellery from the 1950s and ’60s always does well, so does 1980s Bulgari. Anything featuring pink and yellow diamonds is desirable.

Leonard Joel also holds stand-alone jewellery auctions, with an emphasis on affordable or entry-level items, priced from $1000 to $5000. These sales have attracted a new generation of buyers in their 30s looking for something funky and exotic – such as black diamonds.

Leonard Joel specialist John D’Agata had a range of these for sale at his June 2012 auction in Melbourne. He says the popularity of this colour of diamond is based on the television and film series Sex and the City, in which the lead character, Carrie Bradshaw (played by Sarah Jessica Parker), is given a black diamond engagement ring by ”Mr Big”, making them a cult fashion statement.

Smith has also noticed a younger demographic turning up at his auctions, including grandchildren brought in by their grandparents to look around on viewing days, or young couples choosing auctions to pick up a distinctive engagement ring.

Sotheby’s encourages clients to try on jewellery before they make bids. This is all part of the important emotional response.

Men are also involved in the jewellery scene. Watches and cuff links are usually included at these auctions.

To start the year, Sotheby’s Australia is staging the Age of Elegance exhibition and private sale from Thursday, February 14 to Sunday, February 17 (Melbourne) and Thursday, February 21 to Sunday, February 24 (Sydney).

This is the first private sale of jewels – not an auction – staged by the company. As well as items for sale, there will be a display of historic pieces from a private collection, including Madonna’s wedding tiara and Clark Gable’s cigarette lighter.

See sothebysaustralia杭州夜网m.au for further details.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.


Doomed to rent forever

My situation is that a very long time ago I went for a National Australia Bank dividend reinvestment scheme for a couple of years or so. The dividends, of course, came six-monthly, but NAB did not issue scrip certificates until 100 shares had been issued. So, as you can imagine, everything was at sixes and sevens and I cancelled the dividend reinvestment after not very long, before it drove me mad. Then, after I thought I had got that monkey off my back, they actually paid a scrip dividend! I keep good records but some day my unfortunate children will have to deal with this, and two of the three know absolutely nothing about dealing with shares, so I would appreciate your help.
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It is not nearly as complex as it used to be, because indexation for inflation is no longer relevant. Therefore, any shares you own are simply split between those bought before September 1985 and those bought after that date. As a result, you only need a record of what they cost and this is very easily kept by your accountant. Also, the share registries these days keep very good records.

I am 63 and my wife is 18 months younger than me. I recently received advice designed to maximise my age pension entitlement during the 18 months in which my wife will not be eligible to receive the pension. The advice is twofold: 1; to withdraw the majority of the funds in my account-based pension and transfer it into my wife’s superannuation in order to reduce the value of the assets declared to Centrelink; and 2; take the minimum amount from my account-based pension as a pension and take additional amounts as a lump sum. This is to reduce the income that I need to declare to Centrelink. Is this sound advice?

This sounds basically correct to me. Money in superannuation is not counted until the owner reaches pensionable age, so any money held in your wife’s superannuation account will not be assessed by Centrelink until she reaches pensionable age. Income streams from superannuation are assessed under a complex formula that takes into account your life expectancy. Your adviser will be able to do the sums for you.

I am 57, retrenched, with no job. I live in a house worth $400,000 and have a unit worth $500,000, which provides weekly income of $450. I have no debts but I am struggling with rates and body corp etc. What is my best strategy option to maximise my income now, and when I’ve turned 60?

You have highlighted the problems that can occur when all your investment funds are tied up in an illiquid asset. This would not be a problem if all your money were in shares, because you could sell them bit by bit as needed. Unless you can find some work, your only realistic option is to sell the investment property and then seek advice about putting the funds into a diversified portfolio, which would provide both income and growth.

I am a single-income earner with savings of almost $200,000. I have been putting money into term-deposit and high-interest accounts. My current income is $60,000, including super. During tax time, I have to always pay back due to interest earned on savings. Every quarter I also make pay-as-you-go payments. Is there an efficient way that I could minimise tax?

You really need to take advice because a range of options is available to you. Depending on your age, you could put a chunk of your money into super, or you could invest in Australian shares paying franked dividends, which would be tax-free for a person in your tax bracket, or you could talk to your employer about salary sacrifice. Every strategy has advantages and disadvantages and you will need to ensure you understand what they are.

My girlfriend and I are young (26 and 30, respectively), have a healthy income, a small amount of shares, and we can save quickly and easily. Given the high mortgage interest costs, with little principal repaid within five years, we are considering renting forever and investing in the sharemarket instead. Are we doomed if we never get into property, as advised by friends and family?

In most cases it’s cheaper to rent than to own, but this does not work well for most Australians, as they never get around to saving the difference. In Australia there is a mindset that property is the only way to go, and this is why you will be bombarded with advice to buy, coming from those around you. You sound like highly disciplined people and will probably do very well by renting and investing, as opposed to buying a home and paying off the mortgage. However, it would be wise to watch the property market carefully, and buy if and when you see a boom coming.

Noel Whittaker is the author of Making Money Made Simple and numerous other books on personal finance. His advice is general in nature. Readers should seek their own professional advice before making decisions. Email: [email protected]杭州夜网m.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.


Guest of honour Ricky misses the runs party

Ricky Ponting was the main attraction for the Prime Minister’s XI, but cagey West Indian spinner Sunil Narine spoilt the party for the retired great in his international swansong.
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Ponting walked on to Manuka Oval to a standing ovation, only to make the return journey just 15 runs later, much to the disappointment of the strong Canberra crowd.

The former Australian captain had looked capable of feasting on a batsman-friendly pitch until Narine snuck one through his defences as the PM’s XI held on for a 23-run victory.

“Today wasn’t about me, it was about some of the younger guys,’’ Ponting said.

“I was confident we could win the game and it was good to see most of those younger guys that batted at the top of the order get some runs.’’

“Just the experience the younger guys would’ve gained from a game like today would’ve been great for them.’’While the PM’s XI largely had its  way with the West Indian bowling attack, carving out an imposing 333 from its  50 overs, Ponting’s quick innings was an anomaly.

From the moment Usman Khawaja skied a Kieron Pollard delivery to the heavens, all attention turned to Ponting’s arrival.

The leading run scorer in Australian Test history, who called time on his superb career at the conclusion of the Perth Test against South Africa in December, was surrounded by photographers as he made his way to the wicket.

He appeared in supreme touch early in the innings, carrying on his impressive form from the Big Bash League with the Hobart Hurricanes.

Ponting was prepared to play his way in, not taking any excessive risks and knocking the ball around into the outfield.

That was until he heaved a Dwayne Bravo delivery over the mid-wicket fence with a trademark pull shot, showing a glimpse of the raw power displayed in his match-winning century in the 2003 World Cup final.

Just as he was about to get going, Ponting rocked back to a quicker arm ball from Narine, which zipped along the surface and crashed into the stumps.

A noticeable sigh of disappointment was felt around the ground as Ponting made his exit  – to a standing ovation, the second for the day – in honour of his fantastic contribution to Australian cricket.

It was only fitting he shared the crease with Alex Doolan, the fellow Tasmanian he has endorsed to follow in his footsteps into the Australian Test team.

Doolan has been pencilled in as a five-day specialist, but showed he should also be considered in the shorter forms of the game with an eye-catching display.

He was in complete control of the quality bowling attack, accumulating runs with ease and hitting the power button when required.

Only a sensational mid-air catch from Johnson Charles ended his day on 87 from 98 balls.

Another Test contender, Khawaja, pushed his case for a recall to the ODI team with a well-made 69, while unheralded ACT Comets captain Jono Dean made a statement at the top of the order with a dynamic 51 from 40 balls.

However, this was still Ponting’s day.

While it wasn’t the fairytale century fans would have loved to have seen him score, they gave the former Australian skipper the send-off he richly deserved.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.


Needing 8 hours a night may be a dream

SLAVISH adherents to the eight-hours-a-night sleep rule can relax. Research suggests we all have our own sleep patterns that change according to how much shut-eye we get.
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For the first time a team from the University of Sydney has tracked people’s nightly patterns and found sleep naturally increases and decreases throughout a week.

“The body seems to have a way of adjusting the amount of sleep we require,” said the study leader, Chin Moi Chow. ”If you incur a sleep debt, your body will signal a need to catch up on extra sleep.”

Her study found each person had a different sleep cycle, with some taking only a couple of days to catch up, and others taking up to 18 days.

Unlike some previous research, she did not find the participants made up for lost sleep on the weekend. Rather, the 13 young men, whose sleep was measured over a two-week period using a device worn on their arms, made up the sleep at different times, getting up to two hours more sleep on some nights than others.

This suggested the timing of individual cycles was intrinsic, rather than something each person chose, she wrote in the journal Nature and Science of Sleep.

The president of the Australasian Sleep Association, Shantha Rajaratnam, said the study suggested the body had a mechanism for dealing with the amount of sleep we had.

“Over time, it is like you are withdrawing money from the bank, you build up a debt, but eventually you have to pay back that debt. And after that you can start withdrawing again,” he said.

But he said it would be “dangerous” for people to assume they no longer needed eight hours’ sleep each night.

“Different people need different amounts of sleep but people are not very good at judging the amount of sleep they actually need,” he said. “People who think they can get by with very short amounts of sleep tend to compensate for their tiredness by using things like coffee, for example, to keep them alert”.

Dr Chow hopes to repeat the research in a larger group, and analyse whether individual patterns match problems linked to sleep deprivation.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.


Injured Emerton likely to miss out

SYDNEY FC coach Frank Farina may have to make up to three changes to his starting line-up for Saturday’s trip to face Newcastle, with Brett Emerton likely to be ruled out with injury.
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Scans for Emerton’s back problem have been delayed and he won’t receive them until Wednesday. He has not trained so far this week.

It was in Newcastle last season that Emerton broke down during the first half. Having seen Emerton leave the field early in the 3-1 loss against Melbourne Victory last week, it is almost certain he will not play.

Emerton will join centre-half Tiago Calvano and left-back Fabio on the sidelines. Both players were shown two yellow cards against the Victory, meaning Farina will have to dig deep into his squad to find the necessary replacements. The most straightforward swap will be the inclusion Adam Griffiths for Calvano, with Griffiths finally regaining fitness after suffering from a knee injury that has kept him sidelined since the New Year’s Eve clash against Adelaide United.

”The last injury was a knock on the knee and it was disappointing because I tried to play [against Adelaide] but wasn’t right,” Griffiths said. ”Now I’ve made sure it’s right so it doesn’t happen again.

”Hopefully I can kick on now and get some form coming into the finals. I’m feeling good, feeling sharp again, so I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

With the Sky Blues in the middle of a six-way scramble for the final two places in the top six, every game is crucial, especially when they come up another team fighting for a finals berth. ”I think it’s been for a while now that we’ve needed to win most games, ”Griffiths said. ”This game is no different. Every game is important from here on in. I think every team in the league is beatable, and that’s why it’s such a good league.”

Griffiths came on in the second half against the Victory and praised Ange Postecoglou’s side as the competition’s benchmark.

”I don’t think it was just the defence [that let Sydney down] – I think we weren’t as strong as we were as a unit as we were against Wellington, but Melbourne are a much better team,” he said. ”Full credit to them, they’re a much better team [than us]. That’s the level we have to get up to if we want to be competing in the finals.”

The change of coach from Ian Crook – who signed Griffiths – to new boss Farina hasn’t been easy on the 33-year-old but he’s confident they can work together.

”It’s been a little bit difficult with a change of coach and new personnel and different partnerships all the time, but there’s no real excuses,” he said. ”We all just have to work together. We’ve got the majority of the team that’s fit now, and we’re starting to find some rhythm again and looking forward to the remainder of the season.

”It’s been tough but very positive, and I find that our team has more of a unity and solidarity now. We’re working well together here.”

The combination of Griffiths and his twin brother Joel was a mainstay of Newcastle during the early years of the A-League and the pair combined to lead the Jets to the 2007-08 title.

However, only the duo’s younger brother, Ryan, is left flying the Griffiths’s family flag in the Hunter, with Adam putting it bluntly: ”I’m going to get into him, that’s for sure.

”It’s always good to play against your old team, especially when you have good memories there,” he said. ”The fans are always brilliant up in Newcastle; they’ve stuck by their team through good times and bad. But now I’m with the Sky Blues and everything’s for them and we’re wanting to beat Newcastle on Saturday.

”It’s going to be a tough match. Both teams are fighting for the finals and looking to get the three points.”

Equally tough will be the threat presented by Jets striker Emile Heskey, who found his way back into the scoring charts in the 1-1 draw against Wellington Phoenix.

”He’s a great player. He’s strong – as you saw with that goal – the goalkeeper came out to get it and he bullied him into putting the ball into the back of the net,” Griffiths said.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.


No simmering after T20 pressure cooker

AUSTRALIAN and Sri Lankan players insisted there was no lingering animosity from the heated end to Monday night’s Twenty20 match at the MCG.
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Australia required four runs from the last delivery to win but Glenn Maxwell – who hit the first two deliveries he faced to the boundary to give the home team a chance at an unlikely victory – was unable to get a third, playing and missing a full delivery outside off-stump by Thisara Perera. The resulting bye gave Sri Lanka a two-run win to cement their No.1 ranking in Twenty20.

The home team’s target was reduced from 161 from 20 overs to 122 from 15 overs due to a 46-minute rain delay. Australia was unhappy at how tardy Sri Lanka was in bowling its final five overs, from which it needed to score 62 runs. This peaked when a group of players held an impromptu conference with Perera before the final delivery, prompting a tirade from Maxwell.

Maxwell later tweeted that Sri Lanka’s players had ”apologised for going over the top” in their post-match confrontation with he and other Australians, although the batting all-rounder said he too had apologised, rejecting any notion of a dispute with senior Sri Lankan batsman Mahela Jayawardene, a teammate of his at Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League.

”I have a good friendship with Mahela, and it’s gonna stay that way,” Maxwell said.

Sri Lanka Twenty20 captain Angelo Mathews defended the lengthy conference with Perera before the last delivery.

”It was a bit nervous. All of the guys got a bit excited. I just wanted to keep it calm and told ‘Thisa’ [Perera] to go for what his instinct said,” he said.

”I thought it was a brilliant over. In a Twenty20, 16 runs in an over is sort of easy for the batting team. I thought he bowled a brilliant last over, considering the fact it was demanding conditions. You couldn’t really hold on to the ball – it was not gripping, it was wet, the outfield was wet – so it was not easy.”

Mathews dismissed the resulting post-match spat with Australians including Maxwell and Matthew Wade as ”just a heat-of-the-moment [incident]”.

”Things happen, you exchange a few words. They played hard, we played hard. That’s it. After the game we’re friends,” Mathews said.

Australian captain George Bailey said he was not fully aware of the cause and extent of the spat, given he had been dismissed early in the last over, but agreed there could have been discontent with Sri Lanka’s over rate at the resumption.

”I think there might have been. I’m sure the umpires were all over that, if that was the case,” he said. ”I can’t [conclusively explain the cause] because I wasn’t out there, but [I suspect] passion. People care about the game and the way they play. That’s it.

”We get on very well with this [Sri Lankan] side so … I think it’s all just heat-of-the-moment stuff. What you’re seeing are individuals, are teams that are keen to win.”

While Sri Lanka seemed reluctant to want to resume playing on Monday night – Mathews and Sri Lanka coach Graham Ford were involved in a lengthy discussion with the umpires during the delay – Mathews insisted the team always wanted to finish the match, despite already being ahead on Duckworth-Lewis calculations.

”The outfield was extremely wet. The bowlers were finding it really hard to grip the ball because it was slipping,” Mathews said.

”But we wanted to get out there on the field because we didn’t want to disappoint the crowd that’d turned up in large numbers – especially playing in Melbourne. It’s like playing at home because it’s the second-largest Sri Lankan community after Sri Lanka.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.


Delighted Gorman reveals he has no plans to go wandering

THE high-flying Western Sydney Wanderers players are set to stay after the club’s executive chairman Lyall Gorman confirmed his intention to keep hold of the majority of the crop of the squad for next season, including marquee player Shinji Ono.
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Gorman has reserved the highest praise for the club’s inaugural roster by outlining his desire to re-sign most of those coming off contract.

The Wanderers extended the contracts of six players recently, including captain Michael Beauchamp and will not look elsewhere until they have secured most of the 11 others in the final year of their contracts.

”We’re looking at retention rather than recruitment,” Gorman said. ”Our first priority is to reward and honour the existing playing group and from there we will understand better what the gaps are and where we need to focus our energies. But clearly we’ve been delighted with the outcomes and performances of our playing group this year, both on and off the field.”

After the Wanderers 1-0 win against Melbourne Heart on Saturday, when they played the majority of the match with 10 men, Gorman said there were no plans to sign new players until they concluded all contract renegotiations.

”We’ve just got to sit down now and look at the next round of retention of our current playing group and then see how those players react to the tabled offers and then start to actively explore those over the next couple of months,” Gorman said.

There are two days left in the January transfer window and the Wanderers have already dipped in by signing former Brisbane Roar winger Rocky Visconte. There will be no further transfer action as the deadline looms closer, however.

”We’ll be having no player movement either way, in or out. We obviously had Rocky Visconte coming in a couple of weeks ago to cover Tahj [Minniecon], who’s out for the season, but other than that we’re looking at no player movement at all in the January window,” Gorman said.

The Wanderers have held preliminary discussions with the management of Ono but are not expecting to agree to terms immediately.

Ono has expressed his desire to continue wearing the red and black hoops beyond this season and while the club is happy with his performance, they are not rushing for a new deal. The Wanderers are wary that contract negotiations may distract the Japanese star from his on-field duties and will continue holding intermittent talks with his agent.

”We’re in discussions on a regular basis without distracting ourselves from playing football each week,” Gorman said. ”Shinji has clearly expressed his desire to stay both in the A-League and at the club. We’ve just got to now work out how it might look.

”It’s about balancing the process so nobody becomes destabilised by it.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.


Defence site in the firing line

PRIME Defence land in Hawthorn and Laverton could boost federal government coffers by $90 million if sold, industry insiders say.
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A leaked draft of the government’s 2013 Defence white paper, reported by Fairfax Media last week, outlines the possible closure of dozens of Australian military bases.

Thought to be in the firing line are the RAAF Williams base in Laverton and Royal Victorian Regiment depot in Burwood Road, Hawthorn. Both sites are prime development opportunities, agents and developers say.

The 4200-square-metre Hawthorn depot is on the corner of Drill Street and Burwood Road, a strip that is a hot spot for multistorey apartments catering for students at nearby Swinburne University, CBRE agent Mark Wizel said.

The site, which contains a large tree and barrack buildings, would fetch about $14.7 million depending on heritage, planning and other restrictions, said Mario Nobrega from commercial agents Gorman Kelly.

”Burwood Road is moving away from its industrial past and its old warehouses are either being torn down or converted to bulky goods showrooms,” he said.

Across the road, a $140 million project with 250 apartments and ground level retail space is under construction.

Another large site nearby is expected to come on the market soon.

Across town in Laverton, the RAAF Williams base is next door to the newly-minted suburb of Williams Landing, itself constructed on the base’s former airfield and runways.

A dedicated railway station and Princes Freeway interchange are under construction to connect the area’s expected 7000 residents to the city.

The remaining 150 hectares at the base could net the government up to $75 million if sold and might attract developers such as Perth-based firm Cedar Woods.

”It would be logical acquisition for us given our ownership and development of the adjacent Williams Landing development,” state manager Nathan Blackburne said.

But defence sites often contain contaminants that require cleaning up which can significantly devalue the land.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.


Mundine confident he can beat the odds – and Geale

Anthony Mundine The storm before the calm … a feisty Anthony Mundine, left, tries some pre-bout tactics on a cool Daniel Geale at their weigh-in on Tuesday.
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anthony mundine daniel geale

ANTHONY MUNDINE says his best fights have been when he is the underdog and predicts a win over IBF middleweight world champion Daniel Geale will put him a step closer to his dream bout against Floyd Mayweather.

With bookmakers and critics predicting a Geale win, Mundine insists he is ready to prove them wrong and will then pursue big-name opponents to cement his legacy.

”I have always thrived under pressure when I played league and in boxing,” Mundine told Fairfax Media on the eve of Wednesday night’s bout at Sydney Entertainment Centre.

”My best fights have been when I am against the odds and I am against the odds again so I am going to come out swinging.”

Mundine, who hit the scales at 71.95kg in Tuesday’s weigh-in and then engaged in some last-minute mind games with Geale, refuses to consider the possibility of a loss ending his 13-year boxing career.

Mundine says the fight, which will be replayed in the US, will be the beginning of a new phase in his career if he can win a fourth world title – one of which includes the IBO middleweight belt he took from Geale in 2009.

”There is a lot of interest around the boxing world because this guy is really a unified champion and I am the only man who beat him, and I am going to do it again,” Mundine said of Geale’s wins over Germany’s IBF world champion Sebastian Sylvester and WBA title holder Felix Sturm.

”This will put me up there with the best pound for pounders and catapult me to the fights I want to get. I want to fight the best – I don’t care if they are middleweight, junior middleweight or what weight division.

”I want to fight the best of all time and that is Mayweather, but this fight is going to get me in the position to fight an Austin Trout, a Miguel Cotto, a Sergio Martinez or whoever comes up and is the best deal for us. But I have got to get past this test first and he is a champion so I am going to have to go and take it from him.”

As the pair came face to face for the last time before stepping into the ring at the weigh-in, where Geale proved slightly heavier at 72.5 kg, Mundine did his best to get under his rival’s skin by blowing bubblegum in his face.

Geale said he was used to Mundine’s antics and was determined not to let the 37-year-old get under his skin.

”There has been a couple of times I started to get angry but I take it all in my stride,” Geale said. ”He wants me to get upset and I understand that.”

After losing their previous bout, Geale said he was motivated by revenge. ”A statement needs to be made, all the talk has been done and I am just excited by this,” he said. ”I have put a lot into this and I can’t wait.

”He is definitely in great shape but we were expecting that. I said from the beginning that he would step up for this fight and he has to. It is going to make for a better fight.”

IBF featherweight champion Billy Dib, who will defend his title against Cuban Luis Franco in Connecticut on March 1, compared the build-up to the Mundine-Geale bout to Mundine’s fight against Danny Green at Allianz Stadium in 2006.

”I think Australian boxing is the winner because regardless if who wins the belts stays in Australia,” he said.

Dib said he had been leaning towards Geale on form but Mundine would step up for the bout.

”He knows that this is it – he either wins now or he is done.

”Honestly, can you ever write Anthony Mundine off? They said Danny Green would knock him out but he rises to these occasions, so I think it is a 50-50 fight.”FIVE THINGS WORTH FIGHTING FOR

ANTHONY MUNDINEHis career: At 37 years of age, a loss to Geale would all but end Mundine’s 48-fight career  —  at least on the world stage.His legacy: Should Mundine win, it will put  him back on course for a tilt at some of boxing’s biggest names, headed by Floyd Mayweather.To silence the critics: Mundine knows that there are those who would like nothing better than to see his career end,  and he is determined not to give them the satisfaction.A fourth world title: After taking Geale’s IBO middleweight world title in 2009, Mundine now wants to snatch the IBF version from him to add to the two WBA super middleweight belts he won against Antwun Echols in 2003 and Sam Soliman in 2007.Respect: After being criticised for taking easy fights in recent years, Mundine believes a win over Geale will force people to acknowledge him as one of Australia’s greatest sportsmen ever,  given what he achieved he in rugby league before taking up boxing.

DANIEL GEALERevenge: The only loss in Geale’s 29-fight  career was to Mundine in 2009,  so he wants to avenge that defeat.Recognition: Despite beating Germany’s IBF middleweight world champion Sebastian Sylvester and WBA title holder Felix Sturm on their home turf, Geale was largely unknown to most Australians until the fight with Mundine was announced.To silence Mundine: After repeatedly being on the end of Mundine’s trash- taking antics at press conferences and events to promote the fight, Geale would like little more than to be the man who ended The Man’s career.Reputation: Should Geale lose, he will risk becoming another name on the long list of Australian boxers to have been given an opportunity by Mundine and failed.Big fights: As the IBF middleweight world champion, Geale will again look to unify the belt against either WBA and IBO title holder Genady Golovkin or the division’s top-ranked boxer and WBC No.1 Sergio Martinez.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.


Costco rolls on in campaign to steal big boys’ market

Costco has turned its first profit.DISCOUNT retailer Costco has underscored its threat to supermarket giants Woolworths and Coles by posting its maiden annual profit in Australia.
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It has also received a further $50 million from its American parent to bankroll an aggressive push.

Costco opened the first of its warehouse stores in Australia four years ago. Operating last year out of three stores, in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra, Costco managed to more than double its revenue to $609.5 million as shoppers warmed to its club membership model and bulk purchases of everything from whitegoods, fish and furniture, to hearing aids and French wine.

With another three warehouse stores under construction or awaiting planning approval, Costco has sent a clear warning to the supermarket heavyweights, German discounter Aldi and the struggling convenience store sector that it is rushing towards $1 billion in annual sales in Australia.

The threat to the supermarket dominance of Woolworths and Coles comes as Aldi, which specialises in a limited range of deeply discounted private-label groceries and merchandise, is set to open its 300th store in Australia next month. Aldi is believed to have captured 5 per cent of the national market since it arrived in 2001.

Documents lodged with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission reveal that Costco Wholesale Australia reported a net profit of $9.73 million for the 53 weeks to September 2012, its first profit in Australia and a turnaround from its $13.2 million loss in 2011.

The period reflects a full year of operation for its three warehouse stores, with Melbourne and Sydney believed to generate the bulk of the nearly $610 million in sales and membership purchases. Melbourne and Sydney have more than 100,000 members each.

Since opening its first warehouse in Melbourne’s Docklands in 2009, Costco has racked up retained losses of just under $38 million, reflecting the start-up costs of building its large-format stores and operating out of limited sites.

The maiden profit in Australia was driven by extra revenue generated by its two new stores, improved productivity and efficiency that flowed from its expanding network and the recognition of current and prior-year deferred tax assets. It received a tax credit of $13.4 million.

The company’s managing director for Australia, Patrick Noone, said: ”I think there is a lot of opportunity for Costco here in Australia and we are thrilled and very satisfied to see that the business is growing.”

Mr Noone said the fresh-food category remained popular, as did the bakery and household goods such as toilet paper and detergents. Hearing aids were a standout performer for Costco, while its range of premium wines was also in demand.

”We do a lot of imported wines from Europe and that seems to be one of the big growth areas for us.”

During the 2011-12 year Costco received $50 million in equity funding from its US parent, helping to fund its growth including the purchase of land at Ringwood, where it is building its second Victorian warehouse.

Meanwhile, Wesfarmers, owner of Coles, Bunnings, Target and Kmart, on Wednesday reports its second-quarter sales performance. Market leader Woolworths, which also owns Big W, will unveil its sales numbers on Thursday.

Coles is again expected to outgrow larger rival Woolworths, notching up growth of around 4 per cent against 2.8 per cent for Woolies.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.