$15 billion forecast for EOFY sales

Peak industry bodies have called for greater government support for New South Wales and Victorian businesses struggling to survive the current prolonged lockdowns.

National Retail Association (NRA) CEO Dominique Lamb; Franchise Council of Australia (FCA) CEO Mary Aldred; and Australian Convenience Stores Association (AACS) CEO Theo Foukkare all said many of their members in Australia’s two biggest states urgently need assistance.

Measures that the business groups are asking respective state and federal governments to consider are as follows:

  • The reintroduction of JobKeeper to businesses in NSW and VIC affected by the current prolonged lockdowns.
  • Business support around leasing to manage increased small business debts.
  • A stimulus package to address drops in cash flow.

NRA CEO Dominique Lamb said that retailers in Australia’s two largest states desperately needed support and that the current lockdowns could jeopardise the all-important Christmas period.

“Each week both New South Wales and Victoria remain in lockdown a combined $2 billion is being ripped from the coffers of affected retailers,” Ms Lamb said.

“The longer these lockdowns drag on, the greater the need for more comprehensive support packages than what has been announced.

“Christmas may occur in December, but for retailers the preparation begins as early as September. If businesses and jobs fall by the wayside during the current lockdowns it will have retail in a precarious position heading into the most important time of the year.”

FCA CEO Mary Aldred said many small businesses in NSW and VIC were at the crossroads.

“New South Wales businesses have been in lockdown for close to a month, while Victoria is in its fifth round of hard-line restrictions. Many businesses in these two states are facing financial and emotional devastation,” Ms Aldred said.

“We need the respective state and federal governments to provide urgent assistance to keep people employed, manage mounting business debts and help with reduced cash flows.”

AACS CEO Theo Foukkare echoed the need for more extensive assistance measures as lockdowns across the two states continue.

“Even for businesses still able to trade under lockdown, there remains a large degree of uncertainty that affects consumer spending,” Mr Foukkare said.

“Large-scale support measures would not only help businesses survive the financial cost of the lockdowns, but would also take a massive emotional weight off the shoulders of affected small businesses.”