Retail Voice CEO Message: 21 December 2022

We’re only 4 days away from Christmas! It has been a chaotic year, but also one of resounding success. The retail industry has showcased extraordinary resilience in wake of the pandemic, to achieve record sales.

And of course, the best is yet to come – with Boxing Day less than a week away.

Retailers should be incredibly proud of their achievements this year. Australian retail sales increased 5% in November compared to the same time last year, according to the latest Mastercard© SpendingPulse™.

And the ARA, in collaboration with Roy Morgan, have some very encouraging post-Christmas spending projections just on the horizon.

If anything, these record results prove that shopping is one of Australia’s most beloved pastimes.

In the lead up to Christmas, we have unfortunately seen a spike in antisocial behaviour. This week, the ARA joined forces with the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA) pleading for civility and mutual respect. You can read more about it here.

With lingering staff shortages and frenzied demand, there’s obviously going to be some hitches and queues, particularly in the last week before Christmas day. Patience is a virtue, and we hope that many shoppers will take this advice onboard.

As we wrap up the year – and look ahead to 2023 – we do eventually expect a change in shopper behaviour.

Cost of living pressures will certainly be on radar for many households across the country in 2023 – with recent data revealing personal and financial security ranks as the highest concern among Australians.

Whilst a lot has been said about inflation, the cost of doing business is equal concern to our members. With utilities, rent and labour all on the rise, maintaining margins is a constant challenge. There will be new challenges to navigate including the rollout of a series of new Federal workplace legislative changes and a widely tipped economic slowdown.

That doesn’t mean retailers should hit the panic button. Whilst we are likely to see a shift in consumer habits – with shoppers more conscious to hunt for bargains and pocket savings where possible – overall household savings levels remain reasonably robust, and employment figures are high.

All the best for the festive season.

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NRF Retail Big Show 2023 summary – high tech, high touch

The National Retail Federation Retail ‘Big Show’ kicked off in New York on Sunday 15th January. Paul Zahra, Australian Retailers Association CEO and QUT Professor Gary Mortimer, Chair of the Australian Retailers Association Consumer Research Committee were there to capture and share the latest retail insights. Over almost four days, Zahra and Mortimer attended thirty industry presentations and conducted fifty store visits.

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