Retail Voice CEO Message: 15 March 2023

Retail crime continues to be a concern with many businesses recording an increase in shoplifting.

In the latest Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research data coming out of New South Wales, retail theft increased 23.7% year-on-year.

This is a vital area of focus and advocacy for our members and the ARA has been a strong voice in media in recent weeks highlighting the impact of this activity on our retail teams and customers. It’s also important to be mindful these numbers are cycling off a low base from the previous year when pandemic restrictions were in effect.

The ARA continues its work with our Retail Crime Advisory Committee which focuses on collaborations between retailers, government and police.

We are also pleased to launch the newly created Retail Crime Resource Hub to our community. This features tips and advice to prevent and respond to common types of retail crimes. You can view it here.

The ABS this week released statistics about January household spending showing an increase in eight of the nine spending categories.

Clothing and footwear recorded the third largest increase in spending (20.9%). However, services saw a much bigger spending increase than goods (28.2% vs 8.6%).
With less than four weeks until Easter, it is encouraging to see household spending remain relatively robust.
In the coming days, the ARA will release projections for the Easter long weekend spending period in conjunction with Roy Morgan.
In releasing its draft determination for 2023-24 earlier today, the Australian Energy Regulator has warned that energy prices are expected to increase by a further 15-25% for small businesses next financial year.
To address the impact of these increases, members should start to act now by contacting ARA Member Benefits Partner Energy Choice who can assist with a complementary energy health check, including energy benchmarking and bill validation. And to reduce your underlying consumption and reliance on traditional generation, it’s not too late to register for the ARA’s Net Zero Accelerator workshop, in-person in Melbourne on 30-31 of March.

We are keen to receive your feedback in our ARA Members surveys – particularly our survey on the rising cost of doing business. With rising operating costs associated with fuel, energy, labour, supply chains, rent and loans – we anticipate this will be an area of challenge moving forward.

The ARA continues to grow and we welcome members from the Australian Association of Floral Designers (AAFD) in their recent merger with the ARA.

The ARA has long been a supporter of achieving a single, strong and unified voice to represent the retail community. Although the AAFD has a strong history of more than 45 years in advocating on behalf of their members at the state and federal levels the new members will benefit from the powerful national resources of the industry’s largest and most established retail body to take its representation to the next level.



Retail Voice CEO Message: 29 March 2023

With the New South Wales state election complete, we now have a Labor government in place in every state except Tasmania and an 18 month window without any elections occurring.  
This provides a period where we may see significant reform and potentially for national alignment in key policy areas across Australia.  

The rich tapestry of neurodiversity

There is a slow shift towards incorporating design aspects that create more inclusive shopping experiences for customers of all neurotypes. Retailers willing to explore this hidden customer segment can deliver a more easy, engaging and inclusive experience both in-store and online.

Retailers have an important role to play in closing the gap

Today is National Closing the Gap Day, a day of action to pledge support for achieving indigenous health equality by 2030. As part of the ARA’s reconciliation journey, we have made a commitment to use our reach to raise awareness with our members about days of significance for First Nations communities, like Closing the Gap Day.