March 6, 2017
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has today released its retail trade figures for January 2017, which demonstrate a solid increase of 3.2 per cent on the January 2016 figures.
NRA CEO Dominique Lamb said the figures represented a promising sign to the start of 2017 for retail.
But Ms Lamb also urged the federal government to respect the decision handed down by the Fair Work Commission (FWC) on penalty rates in order to fully unleash the industry’s potential for sustaining and creating jobs.
“The ABS retail figures for January 2017 are a promising start to the year for retail and hopefully it means we won’t see a repeat of the slow start to the year that we saw in 2016,” Ms Lamb said.
“Seasonally adjusted there has been a rise of 0.4 per cent for January 2017, compared to the fall in seasonally adjusted terms of 0.1 per cent in December 2016.
“In trend terms we also saw a rise in every single state and territory, which bodes well for the year ahead in the retail industry.
“But if we are to ensure that retail doesn’t experience the same sluggishness in the first six months of 2017, it is vital that the federal government does not seek to overturn the decision by the Fair Work Commission on penalty rates.
“The independent commission came to the conclusion that a reduction in Sunday penalty rates will help foster job creation in the industry and allow in some cases retailers who currently close on a Sunday to now open their doors for trade.
“The decision by the FWC was not in line with everything the NRA had argued for in our submission, but we certainly saw it as a step in the right direction.
“When businesses can’t afford to open, they can’t create jobs, nor contribute to the economy, so by reducing these barriers for small business, we believe that the FWC decision has the potential to unlock jobs in retail and result in a boost to total retail sales.
“This reform also has the potential to enable retailers to sharpen their prices in order to compete with on-line sales and to boost local spending.”