ARA Employment Relations Breakfast


We were delighted to host members of the ARA retail community at our recent ARA Employment Relations breakfast at The Glasshouse Melbourne in November 2023.

Joining ARA CEO Paul Zahra on stage were, Amanda Curatore (ARA Employment Relations), Duncan Stone (PaidRight), and Deborah Potts (REST Super), discussing the hot topics for retailers and human resource professionals – from pending changes to the industrial relations landscape, casual contracting, payroll compliance.

Special thanks to event partner PaidRight for enabling this fantastic event to occur.

ARA & American Express Shop Small Roundtable


We recently hosted the ARA & American Express Shop Small Roundtable in collaboration with our Principal Partner, American Express.

This discussion delved into the current state of small businesses in the retail and hospitality industry, with participation from media, government representatives, and small business operators.

Co-hosted by Paul Zahra, ARA CEO and Emily Roberts, Vice President and General Manager of Consumer and Commercial Services at American Express, we explored the impact of the consumer spending slowdown and the rising cost of doing business, sustainability challenges and the application of artificial intelligence within a small business environment.

ARA Christmas Insights Breakfast


The annual ARA Christmas Insights Breakfast once again lit up our calendars as the number one forecasting event to kick off the Christmas trading season for our vibrant retail community. 

Hosted by ARA CEO, Paul Zahra, attendees were treated to a first-hand glimpse of seasonal data insights and predictions, courtesy of our industry experts from Roy Morgan, MST Marquee, Afterpay and Mastercard. 

The event was more than just a breakfast; it was a platform for engaging in thought-provoking discussions and exclusive networking with the wider Australian retail community. 

A special thanks to our official event partner, Afterpay and thanks to our gift partner, IKEA Australia. 

ARA Sustainability & Innovation Breakfast


This event was a remarkable opportunity to delve into thought-provoking discussions, gain insights from industry leaders, and explore the exciting intersection of sustainability and innovation in retail.

Thank you to our keynote speaker Andrea Culligan, Deloitte’s Global GreenSpace Tech Lead Partner, for an outstanding presentation. And sincere thanks to our wonderful lineup of leaders on the panel – Officeworks’ Managing Director Sarah Hunter, Woolworths’ Chief Sustainability Officer Alex Holt and Afterpay’s EVP, Country Manager and Head of Sales APAC Katrina Konstas, for their time and meaningful insights. We would also like to extend our thanks to our event partner, Afterpay, for their ongoing support and commitment to sustainability in retail.

ARA Gender Equality Symposium


The ARA Gender Equality Symposium on Wednesday 12 July 2023 was equally insightful and inspiring.

ARA and Deloitte have been leaders and fierce advocates for gender equality. We are grateful for Deloitte’s continued partnership in enabling this event to occur and also in the leadership of the ARA’s Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Advisory Committee.

We sincerely thank Elise Sharpley and Natasha Stott Despoja, along with the Deloitte team and our panellists,  for their stewardship and sharing of insights. 



The ARA’s Annual CEO Lunch brought together senior leaders from across Australia’s $400 billion retail sector to reflect on high-calibre, agenda-setting discussions – this year with a focus on reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Special thanks to our principal partner American Express for supporting this event.

Net Zero Accelerator

In person workshops  designed to assist attendees in developing a climate action plan

The ARA was proud to host an inspiring two days at the inaugural Net Zero Accelerator two-day workshop in March.

This workshop brought together experts from a range of industries to support retailers committed to decarbonising their businesses, in their transition to net zero.  Attendees walked away equipped and inspired to take action, with new industry connections to facilitate their journey, and will continue to be supported with implementation through our monthly roundtables.

ARA International Women's Day


The ARA is committed to addressing imbalances and promoting gender equality across the retail sector to improve choice, career 
progression and financial security for women through their working life and into retirement. 
Thank you to Rest for sponsoring the event and our inspirational speakers Dr Samone McCurdy, Dr Manisha Amin, Virginia Leaf and Jane Eva Sheridan.

A special thanks to Vicki Doyle for sharing the vision of this celebration event but more importantly for supporting women and their financial progress.

ARA Leaders Forum


On Wednesday 22 February 2023, the ARA hosted the first in-person Leaders Forum. This sold-out event included a program of more than 30 speakers who explored the future of retail and the most important issues facing the retail industry. 

A special thank you to all who participated, including our special guests speakers and event partners. Thank you to our panel partners AWS, AusPost, Meta, Westpac Data X and paradox and also thank to Rothfield, Latitude and Dymocks for their support

Save the date: The 2024 Leaders Forum will be 21-22 February 2024

ARA Gala No.1


On the evening of 31 August 2022, members of the retail community gathered to celebrate the culture and resilience of the retail sector at the inaugural ARA Gala No.1 black-tie event, presented by Afterpay.

Guests were welcomed by Emma Mildenhall, Wurundjeri woman, accompanied by a beautiful cinematic and music arrangement featuring Wurundjeri man, Kiernan Ironfield on didgeridoo alongside the The Raah Project Orchestra, and an opening performance of ‘Great Southern Land’ by Bonnie Anderson

With the fabulous Tony Armstrong our Master of Ceremonies for the evening, we heard welcoming addresses from The Right Honourable Sally Capp, Lord Mayor of Melbourne, and ARA CEO Paul Zahra.

Dining on an Around the Nation culinary experience, guests were then treated to a spectacular runway show of Australian Designers. Produced by Afterpay and opened by Afterpay’s Head of Country Katrina Konstas, the runway was a true representation of our combined focus on diversity, equality and inclusion in the retail sector.

The ARA was proud to announce the winner of the Women Leaders in Retail Scholarship, a new initiative founded by the Australian Retailers Association in partnership with Chief Executive Women. CEW Committee Chair Deidre Willmott and Craveable Brands CEO Karen Bozic naming Virginia Leaf, General Manager Finance at Wesfarmers OneDigital, the worthy recipient.

Thanks to Virgin Australia and its award-winning loyalty program Velocity Frequent Flyer, we announced the winner of a special lucky draw prize – a voucher for a whopping 500,000 Velocity Points.

We closed out the evening with an incredible performance by legendary Kate Ceberano, then joined by Bonnie Anderson for a passionate duet of “I’m Every Woman”, and closed with an official toast to the sector by ARA President Nicole Sheffield, before switching gears into the after party vibes.

With special thanks to our event presenting partner Afterpay for enabling the night-of-nights for the retail sector to come to life, partners AWS, City of Melbourne and Virgin Australia, and supporting partners ARA Insurance, Idle Hour Vodka, Joey Scandizzo Salon and San Pellegrino.

ARA Employment Relations Breakfast


We were delighted to host 80+ members of the ARA retail community at our recent ARA Employment Relations breakfast at the InterContinental Rialto Melbourne in November 2022.

Joining ARA CEO Paul Zahra on stage were, Amanda Curatore (ARA Employment Relations), Duncan Stone (PaidRight), and Deborah Potts (REST Super), discussing the hot topics for retailers and human resource professionals – from pending changes to the industrial relations landscape, workplace relations case law, tackling the gender pay gap and payroll compliance.

With special thanks to event partner PaidRight for enabling this fantastic event to occur.

ARA Christmas Insights Breakfast


We were delighted to host 120+ members of the ARA retail community at our recent ARA Christmas Insights breakfast at the Fullerton Hotel Sydney in early October 2022.

Joining ARA CEO Paul Zahra on stage were, Jo Gaines (Salesforce)Craig Woolford (MST Marquee)Jonathan Ranstrand (Mastercard) and Laura Demasi (Roy Morgan), sharing first-to-market insights about this year’s Christmas retail spending forecasts.

With special thanks to event partner Salesforce for enabling this fantastic event to occur.



Having navigated the global pandemic, Australian retail is now moving on to tackle the next big global disruption – climate change.

With thanks to our event strategic partner, American Express, this important event saw the launch of our Climate Action plan, sharing what the ARA is doing to help the sector transition to the low-carbon economy of the future.

ARA Deloitte Gender Equality Symposium


The ARA | Deloitte Gender Equality Symposium on 2 June 2022 was equally challenging and inspiring. As leaders, we have the opportunity to step up to this challenge to better our sector and our community.

Deloitte have been leaders and fierce advocates for gender equality, and we are grateful for their continued partnership in enabling this event to occur.

With special thanks to David Leser and Natasha Stott Despoja, along with all our panellists, for your stewardship and sharing of insights.

Together, let’s accelerate meaningful change.