On Monday this week the Federal Government released its response to the Financial System Inquiry. Of most interest for retailers was a commitment to prohibit merchants from levying credit card surcharges “that are greater than the cost to them of accepting payment by card”.
A delegation from the NRA met with the new Treasurer, Scott Morrison, in Canberra this week, and held a lengthy discussion about how such a decision could be implemented.
I’m pleased to report that Mr Morrison clearly understands the cost to small businesses of providing credit card facilities to customers is much greater than just the interchange fee charged by the bank.
The Treasurer indicated that the Government was willing to hear from the retail sector on how the true cost of credit card services could be calculated and fairly applied to consumers. The NRA will be engaging strongly with the government on this topic, and I very much welcome your views on the matter. Please contact me with your experiences, comments or suggestions.
While in Canberra, we also had the opportunity to meet with a range of Ministers and senior staff from across the Government. Topics for discussion included employment laws, penalty rates, productivity, innovation, rules relating to foreign workers and community safety. While many of the Ministers are still coming to terms with new portfolios, your association was warmly received and we left with a strong sense that the Government was aware of the importance of the retail sector, and of the issues we confront.
I note that the New South Wales Government this week moved to legislate its promised changes to trading hours laws, to free up Boxing Day trade. We welcome this move, if it passes the Upper House, and look forward to further states also moving to reduce red tape and restrictions on businesses trading at busy times of year.
As you know, the Christmas and Boxing Day sales periods are vitally important for retailers. It is one of the busiest times of the year, when many experience the highest rate of sales. However the overall results of a business’s Christmas period can be felt much longer – a good trade period can enable a business to absorb the quieter times of the coming year, whereas a poor season could leave businesses struggling to sustain staff, and to keep the doors open.
On that note, we have prepared a short video for retailers with our top five tips on how to prepare your business for the upcoming Christmas season. Click here to find out how to make the most of the retail industry’s most important season.
Have a great week,
P.S. Remember to have a read of the rest of this week’s Week In Review here.