The National Retail Association (NRA) today expressed disappointment at the 3.75 per cent award wage increase handed down by the Fair Work Commission, saying it will intensify pressure on struggling businesses, particularly small businesses.

The NRA advocated for the Commission to exercise restraint, given the current growth rate in retail turnover sits at 1.98 per cent, the lowest in 40 years.

Today’s decision to increase minimum wages will take effect at the same time as a scheduled increase in the Superannuation Guarantee by 0.5%, from 1 July 2024.

NRA Interim CEO Lindsay Carroll said 78 per cent of retailers highlighted wage costs as one of the top three constraints to their business’ success in 2024.

“This wage increase will only amplify the extreme cost-of-doing business challenges being felt by retail businesses, and many may be forced to reconsider hours of trade, reduce labour, or worse close up shop,” Ms Carroll said.

“Our recent retail sentiment report shows 84 per cent of Australian businesses expect profitability to be significantly worse over the next year, and the Commission’s decision is sure to exacerbate this expectation.”

Ms Carroll called on the Federal Government to consult more closely with industry on future policy decisions, to ensure they do not further exacerbate the challenges faced by retailers, and instead promote a resilient and vibrant retail sector, capable of providing stable employment and contributing to Australia’s economic prosperity.

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