‘Retail needs help, now’

The Australian Sporting Goods Association is calling on the government for help for retailers.

ASGA says that the retail sector, a $240b industry providing more than 1.2 million jobs, has been forgotten by policy makers.

Executive Director of ASGA, Brad Kitschke says that assisting the retail sector to transition in the wake of changing market conditions should be a priority.

“According to ABS statistics, more than 80,000 full time jobs have been lost in retail since 2007.

“The retail sector knows it has to change and is embracing new technologies, market opportunities and changing consumer attitudes. However, there is little assistance provided to the retail sector and no focus on policy.”

ASGA wants to see funding restored which assisted business to engage in the digital economy, arguing that the axing of the $15m Small Business Online programme last year hit retail.

ASGA is also calling for other measures. “We need tariffs and duties addressed immediately. It is ridiculous that a ten percent tariff is imposed on apparel imports, and five percent on footwear. Australian retailers cannot compete if they have to wear this additional price point.”

“We need tougher laws to stop counterfeit products entering the country and undermining legitimate business operators, and we need policy-makers to recognise the importance of the sector to the economy and prosperity of Australia,” Kitschke said.

ASGA says that the Government’s response to the Productivity Commission enquiry into the retail sector in December 2011 was a step in the right direction, but much more is needed .

“We are looking for action, for a real commitment and for a greater focus on the policy issues that need immediate attention,” says Kitschke.



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