Welcome to the first edition of the National Retail Review for 2020. Before I provide a rundown of the Christmas trade period for 2019, I thought it only appropriate to begin this column by stating that the NRA’s thoughts are very much with all Australians currently affected by these devastating bushfires.

To all retailers operating in communities impacted by these tragic events, we certainly hope you and your loved ones are safe. Those of us outside the affected areas can only begin to imagine the huge toll this disaster is having on both a personal and business level.

I am pleased to note however, that the retail community is doing its part to rally around bushfire afflicted Australians with many businesses pledging to donate funds to bushfire appeals and directly help those in need.

We’ve also seen several supermarket chains donate essential items, such as bottled water, to both fire victims and the brave firefighters who are battling on the front line.

If you are part of one of the areas that has (or still is) battling fires, the NRA has resources available on how to navigate this tragedy. With the crisis far from over, and weather conditions primed for further blazes, we’ve taken the opportunity to provide information on recovering from a natural disaster. Information on how to donate is also available at our website.

On another note, we hope that those of you outside the bushfire zones experienced both a merry and successful Christmas. Although we won’t know official sales figures until next month’s ABS report, feedback we received throughout Christmas was quite positive and we’re confident that our forecast of $50 billion for the entire trade period was achieved.

With discretionary spending being quite low throughout 2019, there did seem to be a noticeable pick up during the busy Christmas trade period and I hope this was your experience. Retailers across the country will certainly be hoping for a more prosperous 2020 and we’re optimistic that consumer spending will be stronger this year following a solid Christmas.

Have a great week!