Retailers call for government to get on with the job

Retailer and small business industry associations have called on the Australian government to focus on the job of running the economy, as the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) said that retailers are hopeful that the interest rate cut will assist in boosting consumer confidence.

However, the National Retail Association said that the government and opposition have a duty to put speculation and instability to rest aside and instead get on with the job, if growth in the retail sector is to be sustained.

This was backed by the Council of Small Business Australia (COSBOA), which called on all Members of Parliament to focus on the job of running the country and not chasing votes through opinion polls as internal divisions and lack of confidence within the Liberal Party threatens to destroy the nation’s leadership.

Paul Nielsen, chairman of COSBOA said that its members are sick and tired of continued leadership uncertainty and policy stonewalling in the federal sphere.

NRA chief executive Trevor Evans said the December retail sales results came right on the back of the Reserve Bank’s decision to cut the official interest rate, which is all welcome news for retailers, and likely to put more money into the pockets of consumers.

The ARA said that the ABS’s December seasonally adjusted rise (0.2%) in monthly retail trade figures (month-on-month) and the year on year retail growth of 4.1% (seasonally adjusted) was a very positive sign for the retail industry.

ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman said that while most retail businesses enjoyed a steady month of sales in December, feedback from retailers is that there was a major post-Christmas sales surge which won’t be fully reflected in these December sales figures,” he said.

Industries which experienced rises in December were clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (2.7%) and food retailing (0.3%). Food retailing was also always going to see a sales increase, with food remaining an integral part of the festive season for all Australians, the ARA said.

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