Retail struggle in January 2020

The good news from the ABS retail trade report of strong November 2019 sales has unfortunately proven to be short-lived. Last week clothing retailer Jeanswest announced that it would be going into voluntary administration, making it the latest established retail brand to take such action.

In the first instance, the news is awful for all the company’s hard-working staff across the country who now face a period of uncertainty. It also doesn’t do much for morale across retail more generally regarding current conditions and what the future holds.

So, what can be done to get retail back up on its feet and ward off any further brands closing their doors? There are no easy solutions or silver bullets, but there are options available to assist with restoring consumer confidence that in turn will help all retailers large and small.

The NRA is currently formulating a suite of measures we believe can help the sector withstand any economic downturn and will advocate the various initiatives to the relevant state or federal government.  We’ll be unveiling the package to help safeguard retail once we’ve finalised the details, but we can assure you that we will be proposing practical steps for governments of all levels to undertake.

In other news, the Federal Government has announced bushfire remediation measures to provide support for affected communities. The initiatives follow last week’s small business roundtable, which was attended by NRA Deputy CEO and Legal Director Lindsay Carroll, where participants engaged with both the Federal Government and several departments on how to support retailers affected by the bushfires.

The measures announced are as follows:

  • Grant funding – businesses and organisations that have sustained damage as a result of the fires can access up to $50,000 in grant funding (tax free);
  • Concessional loans – eligible businesses can apply for loans of up to $500,000. The loan is for up to 10 years and is to be used for the purposes of restoring or replacing damaged assets and for working capital.
  • Additional financial counsellors – $3.5 million to establish the Small Business Bushfire Financial Support Line as well as to fund 10 additional financial counsellors with the ability to provide advice to around 100 small businesses a day.

If your business has been impacted by the bushfires and you’d like further information on what remediation measures you may be eligible for, then please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Have a great week!