Retail Voice CEO Message: 3 July 2024

Creating a more inclusive retail sector is a vital focus for the ARA and last week we were proud to co-host our third annual Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) Symposium, with our strategic partner, Deloitte.

The Symposium was an opportunity to hear compelling insights – from support for gender equity and sensory maps for people with a disability to initiatives to improve refugee employment outcomes and more. The day highlighted some great practice from across our membership. A strong theme was the need to bring allies into the conversation and meet people where they’re at.

Whilst progress has been made, there remains much to be done. Working with our members and partners, we will continue to progress DE&I and ensure retail is an industry for everyone. Read more on the day and discussions .

The release of May’s Monthly Retail Trade data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) revealed another soft month for retail trade with most discretionary categories in decline and year-on-year growth sitting at a subdued 1.7%. More .

With cost of doing business pressures remaining high for retail, we continue to advocate for government relief measures – particularly for vulnerable small businesses. A round up of SMB support can be found at our ARA . It is disappointing that business support measures have been largely absent from recent state budgets. We also note that tax incentive schemes for small businesses passed in Parliament last week gave small retailers only three days to benefit from the schemes before the End of Financial Year 2023-24. We continue to raise these issues to government on behalf of our members.

The Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA) last Friday put forward an application to the Fair Work Commission that aims to scrap the junior rate of pay for 18–20-year-olds and increase pay for other junior age groups. The ARA continues to strongly advocate that junior rates remain unchanged, as we know these rates provide an essential entry point for young, unskilled workers in the workplace, and that changes to these rates will put extra pressure on retailers.

The circular economy is a growing force for retail innovation and growth – driven by changing customer habits and business opportunities. At our  in Melbourne next month, we bring together some of the best minds in the business to showcase the latest sustainable business practices. Last year’s event sold out fast – make sure you secure your spot.

As always, our membership team is here to help if you need any assistance, so don’t hesitate to reach out via email or on 1300 368 041.
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