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Why retail is struggling, and can’t shake it off

The National Retail Association has called on the Federal Government to look seriously at the crisis confronting Australian retail, rather than celebrating the Taylor Swift sugar hit to retail sales in February.

National Retail Association Director Rob Godwin said it would be a mistake for the Government to interpret the February sales increase of 0.3 per cent (seasonally adjusted) as anything other than a very dire number for Australian business owners.

“These figures show that the retail sector is struggling, and can’t simply ‘shake it off’ no matter what kind of spin the ABS puts on the numbers, Mr Godwin said.

“Businesses are struggling with spiralling overheads, including power prices and insurance, and now they also see the Government pushing for a very significant increase in the upcoming minimum wage review.”

Mr Godwin said the ABS figures also revealed a significant disparity between the states, with Victoria (0.7%) and New South Wales (0.6%) revelling in the Taylor Swift tour, while non-tour states, including Queensland (-0.5%) and Tasmania (-0.4%) marked time or went backwards.


“If you strip out the sales bump from Swifties, underlying growth reached just 0.1 per cent for the month.

“When you factor in price inflation, this clearly shows a sector in need of significant help.  We simply can’t rely on a US pop star to ensure our retail economy is reaching its potential.

“The Government needs to start listening to the concerns of businesses, starting with the spiralling cost of wages. Otherwise, the sector will continue to decline and jobs and businesses will simply disappear.”


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