Retail struggle in January 2020

Next week the Federal Budget will be handed down and the focus appears to be jobs, jobs and more jobs. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has outlined an ambitious goal of lowering the unemployment level to below five per cent.

In a fundamental shift, the Coalition Government has jettisoned past mantras around budget surpluses in favour of prioritising employment. This is pleasing news given retail does provide the second largest workforce of any Australian industry. However, the good intentions need to be backed up with concrete measures that help safeguard both businesses and jobs. Although the economic data for Australia fares well compared to similar nations, it remains an anxious time for not only many retailers, but also businesses across the economy.

It is also being mooted that stage 3 of the already legislated tax cuts will be brought forward. This would see one flat 30 per cent rate on all income earned between $45,000 and $200,000 and a 45 per cent rate above that threshold. The rationale is that by not jacking up the tax rate for a large chunk of the population as they climb the economic ladder, it will result in workers having more disposable income with increases to their salary before they hit $200,000. This in turn will put upward pressure on discretionary spending as the country continues its recovery from last year’s recession.

Moreover, there are also indications that the Budget will contain several measures aimed at supporting women. This includes funding to improve female superannuation savings, policies to address domestic violence and further childcare subsidies. The NRA will provide you with detailed information regarding Budget initiatives relevant to the retail industry throughout next week, along with any measures outlined by Anthony Albanese in the Budget reply speech.

Also, as you’re all aware the NRA last year formed a strategic partnership with Klarna, the world’s largest provider of interest-free instalment shopping options. This relationship enables us to access research, data and strategic insight to help each of you navigate a period of substantial change in retail. Klarna is currently conducting a short survey, asking retailers to share their views on the Australian payments landscape and the findings will help shape their payment product offerings. I implore each of you to take 5 minutes to complete the survey here.

All the best for the week ahead.