Retail Voice CEO Message: 3 May 2023

With the Federal Budget just days away, we are starting to form a picture of the government’s spending priorities.
Small business stands to benefit, with the announcement of a bonus tax deduction to help small and medium sized retailers reduce costs, energy and emissions. This important initiative is one in a range of measures the ARA advocated for in its pre-budget submission and we are hopeful there will be more measures in the works for SMBs.

With energy costs continuing to increase at 5-10% per annum, this program will be the much-needed incentive many small businesses need to make the investment in energy efficiency and electrification. It’s also a positive and practical step towards more sustainable operations, which is high on the agenda for retail customers. You can register for a webinar covering all the Federal Budget news from our strategic partner Deloitte at this link

Another pleasing development over the past week is the government’s move to streamline and simplify Australia’s migration system to offer long-term pathways to residency for skilled workers – helping make Australia a destination of choice for workers. You can read more here.

Mother’s Day is on the horizon, with our latest ARA-Roy Morgan research showing Australians are set to spend $925 million on Mother’s Day this year – up $166 million from 2022. This is a pleasing result in light of current cost-of-living challenges, with 84% of those surveyed saying they plan to spend the same or more than they did last year. The forecast comes amidst a continued slowdown in overall spending, with today’s ABS retail trading results showing March trading growth has again slowed – up a modest 5.4% on 2022, which is a softer result than previous months with much of the growth fuelled by price increases.

Unfortunately, yesterday’s decision by the Reserve Bank to increase interest rate rises intensifies the challenge for our sector and for customers. Whilst there is always a lag effect around cost-of-living pressures and retail spending we are hopeful that inflation will settle in the second half of the year to allow a sustainable retail recovery.

We are proud to again promote First Responders Day on Thursday 29 June. This is a wonderful way for retailers to give back to our amazing community of 300,000 First Responders – from those who assist in the ever-growing incidents of climate related events such as floods and bushfires – many volunteers – to our amazing paramedics and hospital workers. Simply register your offer for First Responders on our website and promote it to your community of customers. You will join a group of leading Australian retailers who understand the importance of showing customers how much we love to support our customer community. More info here.

It’s never been more important to understand the needs and challenges of our First Nations community, with the referendum around the Voice to Parliament ensuring Indigenous interests are high on the national agenda. Our CEO Lunch on 18 May is a unique opportunity hear directly from the leaders working in this space including First Nations thought leader Jason Timor and Coles General Manager of Corporate and Indigenous Affairs Sally Fielke. Don’t miss this important conversation – last chance to register here with tickets almost sold out.
Lastly, the ARA is celebrating 120 years in the service of our retail community – as the oldest, largest and most diverse peak body. We are pleased to share our celebratory campaign in honour of this important milestone.
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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