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Message from the CEO: 12 September 2016

September 09, 2016

This coming Wednesday evening September 14, the National Retail Association is eagerly anticipating one of our hallmark events for the year, with our Rewards for Excellence Gala Dinner occurring at the Sofitel Sydney.

It promises to be a spectacular event, with winners to be announced in several award categories. Rewards for excellence aims to acknowledge and reward individuals and businesses in the retail sector that are thought leaders in their field, whilst promoting the diversity of viable career opportunities in an ever evolving industry.

One of the more hotly contested awards includes the crowning of the Young Retailer of the Year. With 25 highly impressive candidates shortlisted, I’m pleased to say that the future of Australian retail is in very safe hands.

And if it’s possible to make the event sound even more exciting, the NRA are also pleased to announce that the Master of Ceremonies for the evening will be none other than Channel 7 sunrise presenter, Sam Mac.

There will be representatives from around 300 retail businesses in attendance and the evening will no doubt showcase the amazing achievements of so many within the retail industry over the past 12 months.

The past week has also again demonstrated how challenging and volatile life within the retail industry can be for business owners.

Hot on the heels of last week’s sluggish Australian Bureau of Statistics retail trade figures for July, there was mixed news for the industry in a research report published this week by Deloitte Access Economics.

The report predicts that grocery stores are in for a potentially difficult few months ahead, due to lower-for-longer inflation and weak wages growth.

In the report by accountancy firm Deloitte, released last Wednesday, retail industry sales growth is forecast to dip to as low as 2 per cent this financial year, before recovering to 3 per cent in 2017-18.

The report also highlighted the growing contrast in the fortunes of food and non-food sales. With the value of non-food turnover increasing by 3.4 per cent over the year to June period, while turnover growth for food was only 0.7 per cent.

The clear conclusion to be drawn from this is that Australians are currently happy to splash the cash on clothes and other department store items, but are far more cautious when it comes to doing their weekly shop for groceries.

Moreover, the report argues that the strategies implemented by department stores such as Myer, David Jones and Kmart, combined with a number of international brands entering the market, contributed greatly to the positive performance in non-food retail sales.

While it is pleasing to see strong retail sales for department stores, the National Retail Association does hope that the Reserve Bank of Australia keeps interest rates low for the time being and that this does eventually lead to an increase in consumer spending in food sales between now and Christmas.

Have a great week.

Dominique Lamb, CEO.

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