Australian retailers prepare to welcome Sydney WorldPride 2023

With less than three months before the start of Sydney WorldPride 2023, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has launched a campaign encouraging its members to play an active role in supporting the LGBTQ+ community, including the release of an industry-wide position statement that aims to build more inclusive workplaces for LGBTQ+ employees.

 ARA CEO and long-time diversity advocate Paul Zahra said that genuine inclusion of LGBTQ+ people is important to the retail sector, both as a growing consumer segment with high levels of discretionary income and as a way of attracting and retaining great talent for Australian retailers.

 “I’m really excited by the initiatives we are launching today for Sydney WorldPride 2023, which can help retailers connect in a meaningful way with LGBTQ+ consumers and employees.

 “These initiatives will help showcase the inclusive nature of Australian retailers to visitors from across the globe and ensure this public show of support is backed up by authentic actions,” said Mr Zahra.

 The NSW government expects more than 78,000 domestic and international visitors to attend Sydney WorldPride 2023, with more than 500,000 people anticipated to attend the three-week event between 17 February and 5 March 2023. Held every two years by a roving host city, Sydney WorldPride 2023 is slated to be one of Sydney’s biggest events since the 2000 Olympics, bringing up to $100 million into the local economy.

 “Not only will Sydney WorldPride 2023 be a celebration of the vibrant diversity of the LGBTQ+ community, it’s an exciting opportunity to continue the revitalisation of Sydney’s CBD and restore Australia’s standing as a visitor economy powerhouse, with its flow-on effects across the retail economy.

 “Whilst Sydney is hosting the event, we expect Australian retailers across the country will take the opportunity to celebrate diversity, equality and inclusion nationally – sending a strong and encouraging message to both the domestic and international visitors.

 “There are a number of ways our members can get involved during Sydney WorldPride, starting with a rainbow-themed take-over of their website and social media channels, or in-store activations and visual merchandising displays. These are just two of the 15 suggestions we’ve promoted with members, who are all at different stages of their journey on engaging with the LGBTQ+ community,” said Mr Zahra.

To avoid pink-washing the ARA Position Statement for the Inclusion of LGBTQ+ People provides context about inequalities impacting LGBTQ+ people and outlines some of the proposed actions retailers can take to address these inequities.

 “I’m incredibly proud we have released our Position Statement for the Inclusion of LGBTQ+ People, building on our successful approach to gender equality and reminding us of the positive role that our sector can play in addressing inequalities across our community.

 “As we have in the Gender Equality area, we are asking members to publicly commit to this position statement and develop a plan to implement the actions that make most sense to their business. 

 “I’d like to thank those members who have already signalled their intent to sign-up to the statement along with the InterRetail LGBTQ+ employee network for their guidance in developing this initiative,” said Mr Zahra

The Australian Human Rights Commission estimates that “up to 11% of the Australian population may have a diverse sexual orientation, sex or gender identity. The most pronounced inequalities for LGBTQ+ people come in the form of higher levels of mental illness and suicide, higher levels of absenteeism and fewer career progression opportunities.

 “As Australia’s largest private sector employer, it is essential that the retail sector plays a leading role in highlighting and addressing these inequities that exist for LGBTQ+ people in their work and personal lives,” said Mr Zahra.


Media Enquiries: 

M 0434 381 670



About us: The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is the oldest, largest and most diverse national retail body, representing a $400 billion sector that employs 1.3 million Australians and is the largest private sector employer in the country. As Australia’s peak retail body, representing more than 120,000 retail shop fronts and online stores, the ARA informs, advocates, educates, protects and unifies our independent, national and international retail community. To learn more about ARA’s exclusive member benefits and more, visit



Apparel and groceries drive December retail sales growth

Australian retail sales increased 1.7% in December compared to the same time last year, according to the latest Mastercard SpendingPulse™, which measures in-store and online retail sales across all forms of payment.

Most retail categories continued to show sales growth year on year. Apparel (up 6.7%) and Groceries (up 6.6%) reported the biggest increase in trade in December. Lodging also saw gains (up 4.1%), followed by Electronics (up 3.5%). There were year-on-year falls for Home Furnishings (down 2.4%) and Fuel and Convenience (down 4.1%).

Read More »

ARA welcomes next stage of Victoria’s single-use plastic ban

Australia’s peak retail body, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA), welcomes the next stage of Victoria’s single-use plastics phase out, which takes effect 1 Feb 2023.

From next month, the sale and supply of single-use plastic drinking straws, cutlery, plates, drink-stirrers will be banned. Polystyrene food service items, drink containers and cotton bud sticks will also be prohibited.

ARA CEO Paul Zahra said that while national consistency of regulation and timetabling remains the preferred approach for the retail sector, the Victorian Government is making positive steps in addressing plastic pollution.

Read More »

November marks 15 consecutive months growth in retail trade

Retail sales have marked 15 consecutive months of growth, with a record $35.9 billion spent in stores and online in November 2022 – an increase of 7.7% on the same time the previous year – according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).  
As consumers across the country regained their sought-after freedoms, there were strong year-on-year sales increases for cafés, restaurants and take away food (up 24.8%) with department stores (up 7.6%) and clothing, footwear and personal accessories (up 7.1%) also recording strong growth. 

Read More »