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New ministry targets retail; stability sought

RUSSELL ZIMMERMAN praises new Prime Minister Scott Morrison for his foresight in putting small business back into Cabinet and focusing on energy and resources at the very outset.

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) congratulates Prime Minister Morrison on taking over the reins of Cabinet, while the association believes the new ministry targeting problem areas in the retail industry looks promising for retailers.

Prime Minister Morrison’s first ministry will be a great opportunity for retailers across the country, with Michaelia Cash appointed as Minister for Small Business, Skills and Vocational Education.

This strong focus on small business, education and will enable retailers to increase employment and training in the sector to ensure prosperity and growth for the retail industry.

The ARA is also heartened by the significance afforded to energy by splitting the portfolio into two, appointing Melissa Price as Minister for the Environment and giving Angus Taylor the energy portfolio to be handled separately.

The ARA drew the attention of the government to the plight of the retailers who are finding it hard to keep their heads above water, given the escalating energy prices and rising tenancy costs. The ARA believes the Prime Minister’s new Cabinet will need to show how the government will help retail businesses before the next election.

"With retail trade averaging a 2.7 per cent growth this year, the ARA believes, retailers are looking for long-term certainty and stability"

The ARA will be looking to Prime Minister Morrison’s new Cabinet to reduce these rising costs and enable retailers to focus on using their profits to hire more staff.

With 1.2 million people across Australia employed in the retail industry, the ARA is keen to boost jobs in this sector and transform retail from a stepping-stone industry into a professional fully-fledged career that is fulfilling.

The ARA is committed to ongoing career support in retail by a twofold process of educating retail staff and assisting them in progressing their careers to ensure the longevity of Australian retail.

Stability the key

The first reaction of the ARA to the leadership baton change in government was the hope expressed for long-term certainty and stability in the retail sector, saying uncertainty was never good for business as retailers were looking forward to a strong and stable future.

The ARA believes that a strong and stable government will support retailers through the current fluctuating trading environment and assist the association’s mission in transforming retail to a long-term fulfilling career.

With retail trade averaging a 2.7 per cent growth this year, the ARA believes, retailers are looking for long-term certainty and stability, which enables them to make long-term decisions to grow their business and hire more staff.

Retail turnaround

The ARA was pleased with how the end of financial year closed with a 2.87 per cent total growth year-on-year and noted that the positive growth was mostly due to the strong trade in clothing, footwear and personal accessories and food retailing in June.

It noted a 5.26 per cent year-on-year growth in June in this category with food retailing also growing 4.31 per cent in the month with supermarkets making a strong comeback by having the strongest growth since June 2017.

June 2018 saw the key retail categories posting healthy results given the rise in business confidence that often falls after the Federal Budget.

The increase shows greater strength in the market, giving retailers much-needed assurance to invest in their businesses and execute their strategies.

Russell Zimmerman

Russell Zimmerman is the executive director of the Australian Retailers Association (ARA). Email:

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