The National Retail Association (NRA) has said ABS data showing a 0.6 per cent fall in Australian retail turnover for August 2017, seasonally adjusted, should serve as a warning on the disastrous effects overturning the penalty rates decision may have on the nation’s retail sector.
NRA Chief Executive Dominique Lamb said retailers were copping it from all sides, and needed the nation’s decision-makers to keep step with a rapidly-changing global environment.
“We’re seeing consistently flat results across virtually all sectors, and it’s clear that if we keep penalising retailers and preventing them from remaining competitive, these figures will only get worse,” Ms Lamb said.
“The NRA has just held our annual retail awards, where we’ve explored and rewarded some incredibly innovative thinking and dynamic business models in the sector, however the industry can only do so much on its own.
“We need as much adaptive thinking from others, so we can work with our decision-makers to enable, not hinder, the industry from evolving.
“The challengers trying to have the Fair Work Commission’s penalty rates decision overruled are risking retailers’ capacity to even create Sunday shifts in the first place.
“If retailers can’t afford to open their doors on a Sunday, in an environment where consumers are more price-driven than ever before, are spoiled for choice by international competitors who are not subjected to the same cost imposts our retailers are, and expect to be able to shop seven days a week, then everyone loses out.
“There’s no benefit to workers, no benefit to retailers and no benefit to the Australian economy in preventing retailers from being able to adapt alongside the rest of the world, and service consumers in a way they expect to be serviced.
“We need our decision-makers to recognise how the environment is changing, and help rather than hinder one of the valuable industries to the Australian economy, to get on with the job,” she said.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics retail trade figures also show, in seasonally adjusted terms, falls in food retailing (-0.6 per cent), cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (-1.3 per cent), household goods retailing (-1.0 per cent) and clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (-0.2 per cent). There were rises in department stores (0.7 per cent) and other retailing (0.1 per cent) in August 2017.