Retail struggle in January 2020

2020 has undoubtedly been the most challenging year for retail in living memory, but I can start this week’s column off with some good news.

Last week the ACCC granted NRA members the ability to share information and to collectively bargain with landlords on rent relief measures. With the situation in Victoria escalating to level 4 lockdowns and a general sense of nervousness sweeping much of the rest of the country, this ruling is very timely indeed.

The authorisation grants all of you the ability to share information with each other and to collectively bargain with respect to your leases until 1 September, 2021. Although this is by no means a silver bullet to the current situation, it will improve the quality of information accessible to both landlords and tenants and will result in more productive negotiations. If you’re after any further details, please don’t hesitate to contact our expert legal team on 1800 RETAIL.

Meanwhile, individual governments continue to adapt their response to the pandemic. As you’re aware, Victoria has moved to the very stringent level 4 lockdown; the Queensland Government has extended its border ban to both New South Wales and the ACT; the Tasmanian Government has introduced more support for small business; and the Federal Government has expanded the eligibility criteria for JobKeeper. Each week decisions by our elected representatives evolve at a steady rate and we will continue to ensure that you are informed instantly of any measures or decisions which relates directly or indirectly to the retail sector.

As foreshadowed in last week’s column, the NRA has now released our Health and Wellbeing of Australian Retail Workers report. With the sector employing 1.5 million people nationwide, it’s important that we keep our finger on the pulse when it comes to the physical and mental health of our workforce.

Some of the key statistics unveiled in the report include:

  • Retail workers are experiencing increased retail crime and related violence, with over 85%experiencing verbal or physical abuse while trying to prevent crime.
  • Some retailers reporting up to 400 per cent increase in aggression and abuse.
  • Retailers are experiencing a 200-300% increase in drug-affected incidents in their stores or precincts.
  • Up to 100,000 retail workers are experiencing domestic and family violence, with 1 in 6 Australian women experiencing violence. 20% of these women say the violence continues at work and many lose their jobs.
  • Retail workers are more likely to have poor nutrition and lack of non-work exercise creating long term health impacts including obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

I’d encourage all of you to take the opportunity to view the report and sign the petition at our dedicated website.

Finally, entries close this Friday for the 2020 National Retail Awards. There is an array of honours spread out amongst three separate categories and all come with outstanding prizes. I strongly urge all of you to peruse the awards on offer and consider nominating either your business or a staff member at our website.

All the best for the week and keep well.