Media Releases

Retailers require significant support to survive

16 February 2022

Sales, foot traffic and confidence has taken a dive in the retail sector, with the sector requesting urgent Government support.

“The current Red Alert Level has plunged the retail sector into a deep financial and confidence crisis.  Government support is urgently required in order to maintain business viability, and prevent both job losses and cuts in employee hours,” says Retail NZ Chief Executive Greg Harford.

“We have surveyed our members around the country this week, and their results are deeply concerning.  Confidence has plummeted since the move to the Red Traffic Light setting, and is worsening.  A staggering 59 per cent of retailers have indicated that they now may not survive the next 12 months (up from 25 percent in January).”  

This includes: 

  • 37 per cent who are saying their businesses are on a knife-edge and could go either way;
  • 22 per cent who are saying they are really not confident or are likely to cease trading.

“On average, our members are reporting that sales are down by 32 per cent nationally, but a third of retailers are down by more than 40 per cent.  12 per cent of retailers report that there sales are down by between 60 and 90 per cent.”

“This is not sustainable for the retail sector, and we have asked the Government to take urgent steps to reintroduce the Wage Subsidy and the Resurgence Support Payment. Alternatively we are keen to work with the Government and officials to create a package that can support the sector”

“In the absence of direct Government support, businesses and workers will be significantly impacted.  76 per cent of retailers say that they will be looking to reduce operating hours in order to reduce the wage bill, while 32 per cent will be looking to making staff redundant.  16 per cent of businesses indicate they will simply close the doors permanently.”

“With over 27,000 business in the sector we are gravely concerned that at least a quarter are looking to close permanently. We need a thriving and vibrant retail sector that has the ability to recover and rebuild in order to support New Zealand.”


For further information, please contact:
Aimie Hines
Manager Public Affairs and Policy Advice
Retail NZ
022 637 8206
[email protected]


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