24 February 2023
A Retail NZ survey shows significant Government support is required for retailers because of the economic scars caused by Cyclone Gabrielle.
“Our survey found businesses across Northland, Auckland, Coromandel, Hawkes Bay, and Gisborne are the most impacted. Impacts vary from flooded premises, limits on staff availability, roof or other building damage, and no internet/power to operate – many have a combination of all these impacts, says Retail NZ Chief Executive Greg Harford.
“Sales are reduced by 20-30 per cent on average across these regions. This is significant for a sector where average net margins are only 3.9 per cent at the best of times.”
“The average cost of this event per business is around $55,000. However, some businesses have indicated this will cost them in the range of $100,000-$150,000.”
“Retailers across these regions are seasonal in nature. The six-to-eight-week summer period and key tourism events is how profits are made for the entire year. Many are owner operators or employ 1-2 staff members. These businesses are weaved into these communities and are the main face many locals interact with daily; it would be catastrophic to lose these valuable community assets.”
“To add some surrounding operating context as to the state of the sector before the cyclone, the last Retail NZ Retail Radar survey showed that, in January, 30 per cent of retailers were not confident their business will survive the next 12 months, and additionally only 34 per cent had managed to meet their Q4 targets.”
“It was not an ideal or buoyant operating environment before this event, and confidence will have slumped significantly.”
“The impacts of the weather events have been felt right across the country. Revenue is down on average by 10-15 per cent in the other regions. The cyclone’s impact is wider given travel and tourism changes being cancelled by domestic and international travelers.”
“Retail NZ has written to the Government to brief Ministers and request urgent support for the sector. We have asked for a Wage Subsidy to implemented urgently, mental health and wellbeing support for employees and employers, and the cancellation of the planned minimum wage increase”.
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