Retail Voice CEO Message: 9 November 2022

Whilst consumer confidence continues to plummet in the wake of interest rate rises, pleasingly our retail spending forecasts remain resilient.

Our ARA Black Friday sales forecast, released on Monday in collaboration with Roy Morgan, predicts a record $6.2 billion to be spent over the four-day Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend – an increase of $200 million on 2021. Around a quarter (25%) of Christmas shopping is completed in Black Friday week alone with a third (33%) already completed in the first three weeks of November according to Salesforce’s Holiday Insights Hub – showing how Australians love a bargain and are shopping earlier to avoid disappointment. The highest average discount rate (22%) is likely to be seen during Cyber week.

Many people are more conscious about their household budgets with the cost of living going up and interest rates on the rise, and 2023 is set to be a more challenging year with a slowdown expected to Australia’s economic growth. As it stands right now, strong consumer spending is set to continue over the festive trading period.

For more details on our Christmas expectations stay tuned to our Christmas podcast series, brought to you by Australia Post. You can download the first episode here.

On a Federal Government front, we remain focused on the Secure Jobs, Better Pay Bill. We are concerned about the short time frame and lack of business consultation surrounding the bill. This follows the concerns we have raised about multi-employer bargaining for some time. Read more on our advocacy here.

The ARA is presenting to the Federal Government hearing on Monday, 14th November to address these concerns. We will keep members informed.

On the global stage, the Federal Government is highlighting Australia’s climate credentials ahead of the United Nations COP27 Climate Change Conference starting in in Egypt in a few weeks’ time. In line with this COP milestone event, we’d remind members of the UN-backed ARA Race to Zero campaign, which calls on retailers everywhere to take ambitious action on climate change. You can find more details here.

The ARA continues to advocate for short and long-term measures to address profound worker shortages and it’s pleasing to see the Government extend the Pensioners Work Bonus increase to 31 December 2023. Government has listened to the ARA advocacy and seniors’ groups. The scheme will give pensioners more choice over when they want to work or use this credit. At $4000 a year, the amount granted in this program, means pensioners can work 3-3.5 hours more per week before payments will be decreased.

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