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Media Releases

Retailers hit by COVID lockdowns

10 March 2021.

While average retail spending remained relatively strong in February, a new Retail Radar report by Retail NZ shows that the second lockdown in Auckland from 28 February has significantly impacted by the retail sector.

“More than half of all retailers around the country reported a drop in sales over the last month, rising to 70 per cent of respondents with stores in Auckland. Spending numbers for March are not yet available but will have been impacted by the lockdowns,” Greg Harford, Retail NZ’s Chief Executive, said today. “The lockdowns in February and March have also had a significant effect on retailer confidence, with 37 per cent of retailers saying that are not sure, or not confident, if they will survive the next 12 months. This is a 15 per cent jump on the last time we asked this question back in September, and shows the dire impacts of the lockdowns on retail business confidence.

“Our survey also reports a decline in satisfaction with the Government’s response to COVID-19, with nearly 49 per cent of retailers expressing dissatisfaction, up from 37 per cent last August. This will likely reflect the pressures on business owners as a result of ongoing lockdowns as well as general frustration with the impacts of COVID-19. 

“The Retail Radar report also indicates that there continue to be significant pressures on the supply chain. Retailers are expecting to import 11 per cent more containers this year than last year at a time when there is reduced freight capacity coming into New Zealand, and there is ongoing congestion at the Ports of Auckland. This means that stock is being delayed – and it is also costing more. Retailers report that, on average, the cost of seafreight has more than doubled over the past year. This creates unsustainable pressure on costs for almost everything that’s imported, and we expect to start seeing this flow through into price increases over the coming months.”

You can view the Retail Radar report here.

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

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