retail radar
Media Releases

Retail business on a knife-edge as sales and confidence plummet – Government must act

6 October 2021

The past three months have been tough, and the outlook is not much better for retailers according to Retail NZ’s latest Retail Radar report.

“Government lockdowns and Alert Level changes are having a significant impact on retailers’ operating environment – and no Alert Level is immune. Nationwide average retail spending was down by at least 15 per cent in August and down by 16 per cent for September, but many businesses are trading at close to zero. We did not see a significant bounce back when areas outside Auckland moved to Alert Level 2,” Greg Harford, Retail NZ’s Chief Executive said today.

“In the latest Retail Radar survey, 75 per cent of retailers reported that they did not meet their sales targets during the quarter. Uncertainly remains ahead, with 45 per cent of retailers not expecting to meet their sales targets in the next three months in the run-up to Christmas. Overall, more than a third of retailers are not sure if their businesses will survive the next 12 months.”

“Retailers are facing significant issues like cost pressures, ability to make rent payments, and lack of stock across Alert Level 2 and 3. Retailers are impacted tougher trading restrictions placed on retailers at the new alert level settings. This is further reflected in 87 per cent of retailers asking the Government to provide a financial payment to be used specifically for the costs of rent.”

“Retailers satisfaction in the Government’s handling of COVID-19 has plummeted since the last Retail Radar report, in a direct response to the re-emergence of COVID-19. More than 69 per cent of retailers are now unsatisfied or very unsatisfied with the Government’s response to COVID-19, compared to 29 per cent in the previous quarter.”

“Retail NZ is calling on the Government to listen to the retail sector and take ten decisive steps to support an economic response over the next few months:

  1. Set clear dates for the implementation of the Auckland Roadmap, so that businesses can plan ahead and that the public can get vaccinated.
  2. Urgently implement saliva testing as part of the COVID-19 response.
  3. Urgently provide a clear mandate for employers seeking to require staff to be vaccinated.
  4. Backdate proposed rent relief arrangements to 17 August when the current round of lockdown restrictions started.
  5. Provide additional financial support for businesses impacted by the COVID-19 restrictions.
  6. Speed up the regulation of interchange fees – which would have a positive impact for small and medium retailers.
  7. Put a two-year moratorium on further increases in the Minimum Wage.
  8. Defer the proposed “Fair Pay Agreement system”.
  9. Immediately vote down the Holidays (Parent-Teacher Interview Leave) Amendment Bill.
  10. Stimulate the economy, and mitigate the impacts of cost increases by reducing the rate of GST.

We hope that the dire results reported in the latest Retail Radar Report will give Government the urgency to take some action.”

The Retail Radar report is here.

For further information, please contact:
Greg Harford
Chief Executive, Retail NZ
[email protected]
027 243 2842

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