Retail Voice CEO Message: 8 February 2023

With the RBA raising interest rates for the ninth consecutive time this week, the signs of an economic slowdown are emerging for retail.

Last week some commentators were quick to frame the month-on-month drop in retail spending in December as catastrophic; but it’s important to note that in year-on-year sales – a more relevant measure – growth remains strong. Black Friday sales in November were a major contributor to the holiday spend – totalling a record $70.3 billion across both months.

We do know price inflation is now powering much of this growth. The Australian Bureau of Statistics released retail volumes this week, indicating that about 80% of the strong December quarter for retail growth came from price inflation.

Our industry has displayed remarkable resilience in the face of adversity in recent years. Innovation and strategic thinking will be of paramount importance to emerge from this slowdown in a stronger position.

On a brighter note, consumer spending projections for Valentine’s Day are a sweet spot on the horizon for February.

Australians are set to spend $485 million in the name of love this year, a 16.9% increase on 2022. Research from the ARA in conjunction with Roy Morgan, shows Australians will this year be spending an average amount of $118 each on their gifts – up 6.3%. More here.

Retail crime has unfortunately become an urgent and rising concern across Australia.
Shoplifting and theft costs Australian retailers billions of dollars each year, with the most commonly stolen items being clothing, jewellery, accessories, cosmetics, and tech products.
The ARA has developed a series of insights for retailers to prevent crime, the Retail Crime Series. We cover advice and insights to handle cash safely, use technology to minimise impact and support staff. More here.

As profit-margins tighten during the economic headwinds, reducing losses to shoplifting will be an important area of focus.
We are less than two weeks away from the ARA’s 2023 Leaders Forum where industry leaders will be sharing insights on many of these issues.

There are now just a handful of tickets available, so if you’re interested, secure your spot ASAP. You can purchase a ticket  here.

This is a great opportunity to meet your peers in person for the first time following the sell-out success of our 2021 virtual event.

It promises to offer the best-of-breed global and local presenters and panellists covering agenda-setting conversations, a post-conference cocktail party and networking session, and all meals throughout the event.

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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