Australian retailers are calling on the Reserve Bank to urgently cut interest rates as retail growth stagnates from low spending and high cost-of-trading.

Governor Michele Bullock held interest rates at 4.35 per cent this month, citing that inflation has fallen substantially since its peak in 2022.

National Retail Association Director Rob Godwin said policymakers had been neglecting retailers as a crucial part of the economy.

“Retail trade and consumer confidence are at an all-time low, putting Australia’s second largest employer at serious risk,” Mr Godwin said.

“The latest 3.75 per cent bump to the National Minimum Wage and minimum award wages, plus the increases to superannuation, will put more pressure on struggling retailers.

“Our sentiment report shows 78 per cent of retailers highlighted wage costs as one of the top three constraints to their business’ success in 2024. Many are also being impacted by high insurance premiums and energy costs.

“The Workplace Relations team at the National Retail Association has fielded more than double the number of retailer enquiries pertaining to redundancy and restructure from 1 January 2024 to May 2024, compared with the same period last year.

“Weakening household consumption and high labour costs spell uncertainty for retailers who have had to keep up with rising business expenses.

“Retail is cracking under the weight of the 13 successive interest rate hikes and is in desperate need of urgent relief from the Reserve Bank.

“Many retailers will not survive any further rate rises and we would risk losing current and potential investors into Australia. This would see a higher-than-usual number of retail businesses exiting the market,” he said.

The Reserve Bank has not ruled out future increases to interest rates, citing that inflation has been easing at a slower-than-expected rate.

“Retailers are reliant on the Reserve Bank to improve consumer spending and to enhance investor sentiment so Australia’s retail landscape can resume growing via interest rate cuts,” he said.

“We implore the RBA to start its next meeting in the new financial year with a rate cut.”


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.