Cost of doing business hurting retailers

Retail Biz
Wednesday 11 July 2018

Investing in the future of business, especially retail, should be at the heart of our government’s economic strategy, writes the Australian Retailers Association executive director, Russell Zimmerman.

The Australian retail sector has faced a period of change over the last decade, with increasing competition from international and online retailers, globalisation, and a fluctuating economy all testing retailers’ mettle and promoting significant structural changes at the heart of the retail industry.

Since then, the Australian Retailers Association’s (ARA) policy team has called for recognition by all levels of government that long-term business planning requires investment certainty, low taxation, a flexible wage system and reliable, inexpensive sources of energy supply.

At the heart of retail investment strategies lies the need for a strong, globally competitive economy which provides businesses large and small with the commercial freedom to take calculated risks, invest, and secure productive rewards that benefit business owners and managers, their families, employees and consumers.

The ARA recently made a submission to the House of Representatives inquiry into impediments to business investment. When researching business investment across the globe, we looked straight to the World Bank and its ‘Doing Business’ series, which assesses 190 countries across the world for their ease of doing business. The 2017 edition places Australia 14th, ranked behind our neighbours New Zealand, as well as Singapore, Denmark and South Korea.

Of the 190 countries, Australia ranks poorly on key indicators including cross-border trade (95), registering property (51) and electricity access (47). Despite this, retail entrepreneurs can take comfort in Australia’s high rankings for starting a business (7) and access to credit (6). So, while there are some positives, the negatives correlate with some of the more significant challenges facing local retailers in 2018.

The ARA believes every new regulation, tax, law and public servant increases the compliance cost for business. We support the fundamental principle of small government, which removes the laws and regulations that create unnecessary time and cost burdens for business.

Retailers are clearly identifying the size and scale of bureaucracy within local government as a priority concern for their businesses. Retailers often need to engage with multiple regulators, each with differing timeframes and requirements, just to solve a single issue. The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index ranks Australia 80 out of 137 countries for ‘burden of government regulation.’ Alarmingly, this places Australia behind a number of third-world nations, which is unacceptable for a G20 economy.

It is clear that while we have come a long way since the GFC, there is more that can be done to stimulate investment. Businesses need incentives and certainty to grow and employ more workers. The ARA believes investing in the future of business, especially retail, should be at the heart of the economic strategies of our governments, at all levels.

At present the high corporate tax rate in Australia is discouraging investment and hurting competition, especially when compared with overseas businesses that enjoy better trading conditions. Recent moves by several of Australia’s G20 counterparts to reduce corporate tax rates by 2020 will place Australia further behind the world’s advanced economies.

The ARA advocates the view that each dollar raised in tax revenue is one dollar less that a business or household spends. The realities for business and retailers are well known: we can continue to suffer the death of a thousand cuts or drive policy agendas which cut, reduce, and speed up regulation, and drive investment. Government should follow its heart, to help get ours racing again.

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Illicit trade in focus

As seen on
Tuesday 3 June 2018:

Data from The World Economic Forum has found up to 15 per cent of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is lost each year to illicit trade.

To combat the issue, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA), various government organisations and associations have formed the Australians to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (AUSCAP) industry group to stop illegal trading of consumer goods.

The group recently commissioned Chris Clague from The Economist Intelligence Unit to develop The Global Illicit Trade Environment Index to evaluate 84 nations around the world and their efforts in combating the issue.

The Index is a measure of the extent to which economies enable, or inhibit, illicit trade through their policies and initiatives, concentrating on four main categories – government policy, supply and demand, transparency and trade, and the customs environment. The index evaluates 84 economies on their structural capability to protect against illicit trade.

According to the report, given Asia’s geographic, economic and political diversity, it should come as no surprise that its economies have had varying degrees of success in – and varying attitudes towards – combating illicit trade.

As the region continues to grow, and as it moves towards deeper economic and trade integration via various trade agreements and related initiatives, there will be a need for stricter policies on illicit trade. The report said the region’s record “so far is not encouraging”.

New Zealand leads the pack

New Zealand, with a score of 82.3 (out of 100), is the overall top-ranked economy in Asia Pacific, in terms of creating a comprehensive environment for preventing illicit trade.

Globally, New Zealand follows closely on the heels of top ranked Finland (85.6), the UK (85.1) and the US (82.5) – a clear indication, according to the report, that it has been very successful in creating the right policy settings to prevent illicit trade, even compared with its global peers.

In Asia, New Zealand is followed by Australia (81.0), Hong Kong (78.4) and Japan (78.2).

The second tier, in rank order, consists of South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, China and Malaysia, with scores of between 60.0 and 76.0. They are followed in order by Thailand, India, Kazakhstan, Armenia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia and Pakistan (scores between 40.0 and 60.0).

Rounding off the list are four economies with scores below 40.0: Kyrgyzstan, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.

New Zealand is the top-ranked economy in the world (with a score of 90.3) in the category ”supply and demand”, which measures the domestic environment that discourages or encourages supply and demand for illicit goods – largely due to its strong scores on the strength and effectiveness of its state institutions.

The two most populous Asian economies land in the middle of the rankings, with China doing marginally better than India. China is ranked 8th in Asia and 44th globally—although the country remains a source of many illicit goods given the scale of its economy, its efforts to combat illicit trade ‘are not usually appreciated’.

India, on the other hand, punches well above its weight – it is ranked 11th in Asia and 49th globally, despite having among the lowest per-head incomes of all 84 economies in the index.

At the bottom of the list are the Southeast Asian economies of Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia, with their rankings suffering from low scores relating to the capacity, skill, institutional and resource constraints these economies face in addressing illicit trade.

“Australia’s approach to tackling illicit trade were highlighted in this latest Index, due to the success of the government’s policy to tackle the $2 trillion global black market,” said Russell Zimmerman, executive director of the ARA.

“Our recent initiative to combat the illicit tobacco trade, whose global value is some $35 billion annually, means Australia is well placed to support the Asia Pacific region’s otherwise, frankly, weak performance in areas relating to government policy.”

Although Australia received the highest score in government policy in the Asia Pacific region, Clague believes there is much to be done to build a better environment and prevent illicit trade.

“Illicit trade affects businesses, people, nations, and in the present transnational environment, and what the Index shows is that while some nations are striding forward, others are falling behind,” Clague said.

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Federal Budget 2018: What the retail sector wants

As seen on
Tuesday 1 May 2018:

Every year a cavalcade of peak bodies lobby the government to get their slice of the goodies handed out at Federal Budget time. Today is the retail sector’s turn.

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) represents businesses that employ over 1.2 million people.

ARA Chief Executive, Russell Zimmerman, told The Pulse that retail expects answers from the government on industrial law, tenancy law, trading hours and regulations. The sector has specific things it wants the government to look at in the budget process.

Personal tax cuts

Personal tax cuts are all-but locked in at this stage, and Zimmerman said retail wants the rumours to become concrete

in the budget.

“The sector is screaming for tax cuts to boost disposable income.”

“Personal income tax cuts would benefit the retail sector. Consumers would have more income at their disposal to spend at retail stores,” he said.

“If more money is spent in the retail economy then retailers can employ staff for more hours. Also, that means more money flows into people’s pockets due to more work.”

“For over 10 years, incomes have been eroded due to individuals moving into higher tax brackets, reducing disposable income.”

READ: What happened in last year’s budget, and what could happen this year

Effects of infrastructure

Infrastructure can make or break retailers. More congested roads and rail has stock taking longer to reach the stores, and it costs more.

These costs get passed onto the retailer and the customer.

Zimmerman said while the government’s commitment to infrastructure spending had been “impressive” to this point, there were key projects that ARA would be looking at closely.

“We still have major works such as the Second Sydney Airport, Melbourne Airport rail link, Brisbane Cross River Rail and the Hobart/Launceston Derwent bridge replacement to be either announced, agreed to or fully get underway,” he said.

“All of these projects increase efficiency, tourism, freight and consumer access.”

Tenancy relations

Tenancy a hot topic in retail circles. Retailers accuse landlords of price gouging and failing to help an industry under pressure.

There are more measures for regulating housing rules between tenant and landlord. But this is not the case for commercial tenancies.

Zimmerman would like the government to use the Federal Budget as a springboard to look at more transparency in the relationship – using a mechanism like the Council of Australian Governments to do so.

“We need transparency over rental values as we have with housing costs. The current retail rental market is skewed, allowing landlords the right to view a retailer’s turnover and adjusting rental prices according to their turnover,” he said.

“This is like a residential landlord being able to know your income and increasing the rent based on your income.”

READ: More stories on retail

Red tape around trading hours

Zimmerman said retail could have less red tape across the board. He singled out inconsistent trading hours as something to change.

“Retailers in some instances are ‘forced’ to trade in regulated hours, as an example what is the use of a shop that must close at say 6pm when most of their trade occurs between say 3pm to say 8pm,” he said.

“Most people work ‘business hours’ and clothing and footwear stores may well want to trade after 6pm to get workers leaving work that have time to shop after ‘normal trading hours’.”

In last year’s budget the government put $300 million towards a National Partnership on Regulatory Reform. But these reforms haven’t advanced.

ARA and others want the government to recommit on that front, plus there’s a push to reduce red tape such as the new National Red Tape Reduction Coordinator.

Harmonise vocational training efforts

Zimmerman said retail was suffering from a lack of talent coming through vocational training. He pointed the finger at a haphazard approach to training at the state and federal level.

“ARA would like to see an agreement in place which funds each state for vocational training,” he said.

“This funding currently doesn’t [exist], and has not existed for some time which is why there has seen such a big drop off in vocational training.”

ARA sees this situation has led to more overqualified university graduates going into retail. Not students trained specifically in retail via the vocational system.

It’s called for VET funding to be boosted in the budget. ARA wants an apprenticeship taskforce to be set up, to improve the business case for employers offering apprenticeships and traineeship opportunities.

The ARA works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 7,500 independent and national retail members, which represent in excess of 50,000 shop fronts throughout Australia.

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Contactless card technology like payWave, payPass costing us millions to ‘tap and go’

As seen on ABC News
Tuesday 26 April 2018:

Until now choosing to “tap and go” at the checkout has been free — or so you thought, right?

Contactless card payments are expensive for businesses to process and some retailers are now opting to put that cost back on customers.

Dr Michael Schaper, deputy chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), said consumers “hooked” on the technology often had no idea about the underlying processing costs.

“Many people don’t realise that when you use paywave it is processed through the credit card system and for most businesses there is a fee they’re charged through their bank or their card operator,” he said.

Businesses can already pass on a 1 to 2 per cent surcharge on normal credit card transactions, but the fee charged by banks to process debit and eftpos purchases is much lower.

The Reserve Bank’s 2016 Consumer Payments Survey showed more Australians used debit cards than credit cards for this reason.

But Dr Schaper said all cards were processed as a credit transaction by default under the popular tap-and-go system.

“It really does require customers to make sure when they buy something they ask that question,” he said.

“I think too many of us probably don’t because we assume we’re not going to be charged for it.”

Dr Schaper said some businesses would be absorbing the higher fees by passing on the cost to consumers in other ways.

“If you’re buying a cup of coffee [for] $3.50 and you’re getting charged another nine or 10 cents for a fee, that might be one way,” he said.

“The next shop down the road might be charging $3.60 and they don’t really bother about trying to work [fees] out because they’ve covered it effectively through their basic costs.”

The ARA works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 7,500 independent and national retail members, which represent in excess of 50,000 shop fronts throughout Australia.

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ARA calls for corporate tax cuts

As seen on Retail Biz
Tuesday 13 March 2018:

With last year’s retail trade figures averaging a 2.76 per cent year-on-year growth and retail trade growth down more than one per cent on the 50-year average in 2017, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) believes the Government needs to offer some relief to the struggling industry.

As industries go, retail has traditionally been one of the most sensitive of all to the broader economic climate. But in recent times these sensitivities have transformed into very real pain, courtesy of skyrocketing energy and utility prices, astronomical rent increases, and some of the highest corporate taxes in the advanced world.

Intensifying this pain is a combination of sluggish revenue growth, increasing competition, and weak consumer sentiment. Everybody wants a piece of the pie, yet the pie is not getting any bigger. Some of our best-known brands are beginning to go hungry, while others have not even been that lucky.

At the ARA we represent more than 7,500 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. We urge all sides of politics to accept the economic benefits tax cuts will create, as many retailers are finding it hard to keep their heads above water due to the rising cost pressures.

Further, retailers have told the ARA that it is becoming increasingly difficult to balance rising cost pressures with low sales growth and a high-tax environment, and some retailers are finding it hard to even pay their rent.

At 30 per cent, Australia’s is one of the highest corporate tax rates in the advanced economic world, therefore the ARA continues to call for a competitive corporate tax rate to sustain growth and drive prosperity for the country’s $310 billion sector.

At present, retailers are enduring the opposite of prosperity. Several of our best-known brands have either entered into administration or shuttered their stores completely. Some have announced plans to slash stores from their networks, while others are facing the fight of their lives in an attempt to rein in ballooning costs and deepening losses. For them, it’s a diet of bread and water, rather than pie.

The current corporate tax rate also discourages international and Australian businesses from investing in Australia and providing further job opportunities, making it extremely difficult for retailers to invest in jobs growth and increased wages.

With the Australian retail industry currently employing 10 per cent of the working population, the ARA is concerned that employees and the underemployed will be hurt the hardest, as employees are the heart and soul of retail.

As many Australian and offshore businesses choose to invest and locate headquarters overseas, the ARA believes the Senate needs to cooperate with the Government’s plan to lower the corporate tax rate below 25 per cent so local retailers are able to invest in their businesses and return to their rightful place in helping to grow the Australian economy.

As the industry employs more than 1.2 million people, the ARA will continue to advocate for a reduced company tax rate before it stifles future employment and growth. Lowering the corporate tax rate below 25 per cent will not only stimulate the economy but increase employment across the sector.

As retailers continue to struggle in a volatile trading environment, the ARA urges all sides of politics to engage in the conversation and drive industry investment, stimulate the economy, and grow employment.

Therefore, it is well and truly time that Canberra acts to reduce this ridiculously high corporate tax rate as it is a win for businesses, a win for employees and an even bigger win for the overall economy. The benefits are too great to ignore. It’s time to grab the self-raising flour, turn up the oven, add extra meat and bake a bigger pie.

The ARA works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 7,500 independent and national retail members, which represent in excess of 50,000 shop fronts throughout Australia.

Read more…

ARA calls for corporate tax cuts

As seen on Retail World
Friday 2 March 2018:

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is calling for a competitive corporate tax rate to sustain growth and drive prosperity for the country’s $310 billion retail sector.

ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman says the ARA works hard to advocate and support employers and employees working in the sector as the Australian retail industry employs 10 per cent of the working population.

“The current trading environment has seen many retailers doing it tough, with last year’s retail-trade figures averaging 2.76 per cent year-on-year growth, and retail-trade growth down more than one per cent on the 50-year average in 2017,” he said. “The government needs to intervene and offer some relief to the struggling industry.

“At 30 per cent, Australia has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the advanced economic world, making it difficult for retailers to invest in jobs growth and increased wages that would benefit the economy.”

The ARA noted that the present corporate-tax rate currently discourages international and Australian businesses from investing in Australia and calls on all sides of government to drive investment and accept the economic benefits tax cuts will create.

“The senate needs to cooperate with the government’s plan to lower the corporate tax rate below 25 per cent so local retailers are able to invest in their businesses and grow the Australian economy,” Mr Zimmerman said.

Retailers have told the ARA that balancing rising cost pressures with low sales growth and a high-tax environment is becoming increasingly difficult, with some retailers even struggling to pay their rent.

“As retailers are already struggling in a volatile trading environment, the ARA will continue to advocate for a reduced company-tax rate before it stifles future employment and growth,” Mr Zimmerman added.

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Christmas retail sales forecast hits $50bn prediction

As seen on Channel News
Friday 2 March 2018:

Roy Morgan’s Christmas retail sales forecast of $50.073bn was spot on coming in within 0.1 per cent of the actual result of $50.019bn.

Its annual retail sales forecast undertaken in conjunction with the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) predicted total retail sales growth of 2.8 per cent to $50.073 billion for the most important retailing period of the year between November 15 – December 24, 2017.

Retail sales growth out-paced inflation in the year to December which the ABS reports at an annual rate of 1.9 per cent and was impressively strong when one considers consumer confidence was slightly lower than a year ago – averaging 115.0 in November/December 2017 compared to 115.9 for November/December 2016.

There was growth across all six categories measured with spending on hospitality growing the fastest, by 4.1 per cent to $7.123 billion, while the slowest growing category was department stores for which spending increased 0.6 per cent to $2.945 billion.

Analysing retail sales figures on a state-by-state basis shows it was South Australia, which grew fastest with retail sales growing 5.1 per cent to $3.326 billion while growth was slowest in post-mining boom Western Australia, up just 0.3 per cent to $5.4 billion.

Michele Levine, CEO at Roy Morgan says, “Australians spent an impressive $50.019 billion in the weeks leading up to Christmas across the categories of Food ($20.157 billion), Household goods ($8.754 billion), Hospitality ($7.135 billion), Clothing, footwear & accessories ($3.912 billion), Department stores ($2.945 billion) and other retailing ($7.118 billion).

“The ability to predict such varying results as Australians’ retail spending habits in the run-up to Christmas, or the results of a national postal poll on a contentious question, is contingent upon Roy Morgan utilising the correct methodology and sampling techniques to interview a sample of Australians and draw an accurate picture on a wide variety of topics.”

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Retail sales lift in November

As seen on Inside Retail
Thursday 11 January 2018:

The increasing popularity of Black Friday in Australia and the highest contribution from online retail in history helped drive year-on-year (y.o.y) retail sales to 2.87 per cent on November data, up from 1.8 per cent in October, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Seasonally adjusted sales increased by 1.2 per cent to $26.37 billion for the month, building on a 0.5 per cent increase in October, underpinned by strong growth in household goods and the ‘other retailing’ sub-industry.

The result is the largest monthly increase since 2013 and was well-above expectation, with a Reuters poll of economists having tipped a 0.4 per cent rise.

Online retail turnover contributed 5.5 per cent to unadjusted retail turnover, its largest contribution to total turnover since the ABS began tracking online activity.

Across the industry in seasonally-adjusted terms: clothing, footwear and personal accessories increased by 2.2 per cent for November and is now growing at 2.19 per cent y.o.y, while department stores fell 1.1 per cent, down 1.14 per cent y.o.y.

Household goods were up 4.5 per cent for the month, bringing y.o.y growth to 2.8 per cent, while other retailing increased by 2.2 per cent and is now growing at 3.87 per cent y.o.y.

Food retailing was relatively unchanged, and is now growing at 2.38 per cent y.o.y, much lower than cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services, which rose 0.4 per cent for the month and is now up 4.38 per cent y.o.y.

All states recorded growth for the month, Victoria recorded the strongest increase, up 1.8 per cent, while the Northern Territory lagged behind, growing 0.23 per cent.

The ABS’ director of quarterly economy wide surveys, Ben James, said the increasing popularity of Black Friday and the release of the iPhone X underpinned strong results for household goods and other retailing last November.

“Seasonally adjusted sales in both [household goods and other retailing] industries are influenced by the release of the iPhone X and the increasing popularity of promotions in November, including Black Friday sales,” he said.

Australian Retailers Association executive director Russell Zimmerman added that strength in household goods can be put down to several high-profile product launches, not just the iPhoneX.

“[It’s] not surprising as a number of new technologies including Google Home, the iPhone X and the Xbox One X were released in November, giving many Australians an early jump on new gadgets before Christmas,” Zimmerman said.

Eyes turn to December

However, the trend estimate for total retail, which provides a better view on momentum in the retail sector heading into December, increased by just 0.1 per cent for November, following a 0.1 per cent rise in October.

A bump in spending through discounting holidays such as Black Friday in November may also have moderated consumer appetites in December, although while Commsec senior economist Ryan Frelsman said that was a definite possibility, there are signs of a broader-based turnaround.

“Consumer confidence has bottomed as far as the surveys are concerned back in August, so following that with strong job growth we’ve seen a bit of a bounce in retail sales,” he said.

“It could be a blip but we’ve had two consecutive months of strong growth now and if you look at the charts there seems to be a bit of a turnaround.”

Zimmerman is sticking to the ARA’s forecasted 2.8 per cent increase in pre-Christmas sales to $50 billion, covering the period from November 15 to December 24.

The ARA is also forecasting more than $17 billion in post-Christmas sales, including $2.38 billion in Boxing Day sales.

“From what we’ve heard from our members so far, we think the overall Christmas trade will be reasonably strong with many big retailers seeing their biggest growth in their online sales,” Zimmerman said.

“With the ARA predicting a 3.96 per cent increase in online sales this Christmas, we’re looking forward to seeing the December trade figures when they are released in February, as this will give us more insight into how retailers performed over the Christmas period.”

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Retail skills shortage mounts

As seen on Inside Retail
Thursday 11 January 2018:

Concern is mounting that the Australian retail sector is heading for a skill shortage in 2018 as demand for retail buyers and planners with local experience builds following visa changes announced by the Federal Government last year.

The Australian Retailers Association has declared a ‘critical skills need’ for mid-level retail buyers and merchandise planners, fearing the fall-out from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s decision to scrap the 457 skilled visa program last year.

Under the changes the requirements for hiring skilled workers from overseas increased and the number of occupations that can be sponsored decreased, with 457-visas replaced by the short-term skilled occupation list (STSOL) and the medium-and-long-term strategic skills list (MLTSSL).

The roles of Merchandise Planner, Merchandise Designer and several Digital commerce roles have not yet been added to the STSOL list, which means that retailers are unable to sponsor overseas workers for these roles.

Hays Recruitment has been tracking skill shortages in the retail sector and says the changes have been a shock to employers, with senior manager Craig Turton noting that buying and planning roles were already in high demand before the changes.

“There’s just not enough people to fill the roles, we can place a candidate within 48-hours of application,” he said.

Turton explained that the visa changes have resulted in employers, concerned that there may be further changes or that those on older visas may be unable to renew, have decided that hiring from overseas is “too much hassle”, driving a market correction towards home grown talent.

In its national jobs report for January Hays outlined local retail buyers and planners, alongside store managers, sale assistants and concession managers as high-demand roles for 2018.

“We are also seeing growing demand for Merchandise Planners with e-commerce and online experience. With more businesses operating online, candidates with experience in planning across an online outlet as well as traditional retail are increasingly sought,” Hays said.

Retail Buyers were listed on the STSOL last year following negotiations between the department and ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman, but the ARA remains concerned that those workers are restricted to a two-year stay, one renewal and no pathway to permanent residency.

“The Government re-instated the Retail Buyer to the STSOL, however the ARA were disappointed that Merchandise Planners, Merchandise Designers and Digital Commerce roles were not added to the list as well,” Zimmerman said.

It is now seeking to move Retail Buyers onto the medium-term list, which enables a 4-year stay and pathways to permanent residency, with a subset for Retail Merchandisers also in its most recent submission.

In response to growing demand for local skills the ARA said it has also developed a Diploma of Retail Merchandise Management to address what it calls a growing skill-gap.

Australians splashing out to the tune of $17.9 billion over the festive break

Restaurants, cafes and bars will be among the biggest winners in the post-Christmas spend up as Australians treat themselves to dining out.

Spending on food, liquor at supermarkets and grocery stores is expected to grow significantly over the Christmas and New Year break as part of the record-breaking cumulative spend of $17.9 billion in the post-Christmas sales.

This is up by 2.9 per cent on last year.

The nation’s peak retail body, the Australian Retailers Association together with Roy Morgan has predicted consumers to splash more cash than ever before in the three weeks from Boxing Day through to January 15.

The Restaurant and Catering Australia’s chief executive officer Juliana Payne said mid-tier restaurants are among those in hot demand by diners and food outlets are having to put on extra staff to cope with their busiest time of the year.

“Aussies love to get out in the summer time and catch up with friends particularly over the holidays,’’ she said.

“It’s definitely the busiest time of the year for our industry and they are definitely gearing up the staffing levels to ensure they have reliable and quality service.”

Retailers will also be among those rubbing their hands together as consumers spend up big in the post-Christmas period, climbing by 2.9 per cent from last year.

ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman said with just three shopping days remaining until Christmas Day, consumers are expected to flood shopping malls and stores across the country over the weekend.

“Foot traffic is definitely up in the shopping centres,” he said.

“The post-Christmas sales too is predicted to be larger than what we have ever had, over the last few years post-Christmas sales have grown as more retailers open up on Christmas Day.”

And while Australians will be rushing to fill their Christmas stockings this weekend, after Christmas the biggest areas of spending will be on:

• Food — up 3.4 per cent to $7.267 billion;

• Hospitality — up 2.85 per cent to $2.525 billion;

• Household goods — up 1.98 per cent to $3.075 billion.

Spending in department stores will rise (up 1.73 per cent to $1.062 billion) and consumers will be splashing out on apparel (up 1.33 per cent to $1.4 billion).

Myer’s executive general manager of stores Tony Sutton said huge crowds are also tipped to flock to stores this weekend for customers hunting for last-minute gift ideas.

“Myer’s Giftorium will make shopping easy this weekend with some of the world’s leading brands as well as dedicated areas to shop for family and friends,’’ he said.

“We have extended trading hours at stores across the country, so there is plenty of time to go shopping this weekend.”

While at David Jones managing director David Collins said: “With extended trading hours offering people more convenience during the pre-Christmas rush, and gift ideas and food options to suit every taste and budget, there is no better time or place to shop.”



2016 post Christmas sales 2017 forecast post-Christmas sales Predicted growth

NSW $5.593 billion $5.828 billion +4.2%

Vic $4.384 billion $4.528 billion +3.28%

Qld $3.5 billion $3.566 billion +1.85%

SA $1.139 billion $1.171 billion +2.86%

WA $1.927 billion $1.935 billion +0.39%

Tas $346 million $356 million +2.91%

NT $178 million $180 million +1.19%

ACT $320 million $329 million +2.83%

NATIONAL $17.38 billion $17.89 billion +2.9%

Source: Australian Retailers Association and Roy Morgan.

2017 forecast post-Christmas sales

Food $7.267 billion +3.4%

Household goods $3.075 billion +1.98%

Apparel $1.4 billion +1.33%

Department stores $1.062 billion +1.73%

Other (including online) $2.564 billion +4.02%

Hospitality $2.525 billion +2.85%

National total $17.89 billion +2.9%

Source: Australian Retailers Association and Roy Morgan.

Originally published as Aussies set for eye-watering Christmas splurge