The Reserve Bank’s next decision in August, will determine the fate of retail’s biggest trading season – Christmas.

The National Retail Association (NRA) has welcomed Deputy Governor Andrew Hauser’s comments that the Reserve Bank will consider declining retail trade before the Reserve Bank meets in August.

NRA Director Rob Godwin said retail sales have fallen through the floor since a disappointing rate hike in November 2023 torpedoed retail’s Christmas sales season last year.

“Retailers will be holding their breath over the next six weeks leading up to the Reserve Bank’s decision, which could make or break their biggest trading season,” Mr Godwin said.

“If the Reserve Bank decides to raise interest rates at its next meeting, at minimum it would significantly weaken consumer demand, forward orders and employment in the lead up to the critical trading periods of November and December and, at worst, potentially trigger a sector-wide recession in retail.

“We are pleased the Reserve Bank has opted against a knee-jerk reaction to the annual inflation increase from 3.6 percent in April to 4 percent in May, as indicated by the CPI report released on Wednesday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

“However, retailers are not out of the woods yet. Business owners are still facing an onslaught of rising overhead costs and the best thing the Reserve Bank can do for retail is ensure consumer spending isn’t put under any more pressure.

“The ABS will release retail trade data for May and June in the coming month, the results of which are anticipated to be a regression in real terms given our population growth.

“Australia’s business economy needs to improve its viability for new investment, and it won’t be unless policymakers step up and loosen our operational setting and re-energise the market.

“We implore the Reserve Bank stays true to the comments made by the Deputy Governor and consider struggling retail trade before their critical meeting in August,” he said.


The National Retail Association represents more than 60,000 stores across Australia. It has been serving businesses in the retail and fast-food sectors for close to 100 years.

For more information, contact the National Retail Association media unit on 0467 792 013.