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Message from the CEO: 14 November 2017

November 14, 2017

That time has arrived once again – we are officially in ‘pre-Christmas trade’!

As we all know, that can mean frantic attempts keep clothes on hangers rather than change room floors; clearing tried-on footwear again and again and again; helping indecisive gift-buyers find that special something; and the never-ending carols loop (that sends your staff loop-y). But it also means ringing tills and a much-needed boost to the bottom line.

Despite a sluggish year, our economic modelling shows consumers are on track to spend around $48 billion on festive cheer between now and New Year’s Eve, and it’s marvellous to see the ways each of you has upped the ante on your fulfilment and delivery services ahead of this busy time.

On the back of news out this week that Amazon could be landing here before Christmas, it will be even more crucial for domestic retailers to continue streamlining their ecommerce offerings, and work together and with other service providers to deliver the speed and convenience consumers have come to expect.

This is the time of year we also see in much greater numbers, just how greatly Australians value face-to-face shopping experiences marked by personal care and individualised attention – an area our members really tend to shine!

It’s also where this industry gets the chance to create additional jobs and work shifts for Australians – from school and tertiary students who love to work and save over the summer months while they’re away from their studies, to those saving up for travel adventures later on, to mums and dads who love the extra cashflow coming into Christmas.

As one of the largest contributors to the Australian economy, the sustainability of the sector and its ability to create jobs has also been given a boost this week after the Federal Government released its Productivity Commission Inquiry Report into the legislated model for collecting GST on low value imported purchases, ahead of its scheduled July 2018 rollout. 

The Commission has said that while the legislated model was far from perfect, there wasn’t sound evidence to recommend an alternative collection model at this stage. However it has left this open to change going forward, as technologies develop and other countries implement their own models.

The report made arguments both for and against delaying implementation even further, but has upheld the recommended rollout date and the legislated model, which it said should improve tax neutrality between domestic and overseas sellers (naturally depending on several factors including rates of compliance), which in turn should lead to a more even playing field for Australian retailers.

Naturally, any legislative change is bound to encounter a few teething problems, and we expect this one is likely to have more than its fair share, however we are pleased to see this finally coming to fruition after many years of discussion, advocacy and planning.

Have a great week.

Dominique Lamb, CEO.

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