We’re spending as if we have bottomless pockets with retail sales figures surging for the eighth consecutive month, but the latest data does not tell the whole story nor send accurate signals to government to reset the economy and pull the levers to keep small and medium retailers and their suppliers and service providers in business, says Auckland Business Chamber CEO, Michael Barnett.
“The data does not give a breakdown of segments, sectors, regions and spend in sufficient detail. It must if it is to be of use and not mislead decisionmakers into thinking everything is rosy and retail has recovered not with a whimper but a bang,” he said.
“The data is top heavy showing the big end of town is thriving, earning big profits, paying dividends, sitting on handsome reserves and set up for the future with agile and slimmed down operating structures and workforces. But it’s struggle street for many of the little guys facing stock shortages due to freight delays, normal business costs that do not go away from tax to wage bills and low patronage. The survey needs to report on this.
“There have been some high-profile closures of long-established department stores which is a blow for the community and there will be more casualties. The chill will be felt downstream from the landlords with mortgages to service who cannot find new tenants to the local suppliers and service providers who support the retail sector in towns and cities across New Zealand,” he said.
“Retail spending is a sign of consumer confidence in the future and it is important that the headlines do not skew reality when we need to face the facts to understand what we can change to survive and thrive and build a vibrant retail sector to support a vibrant community and economy.”