By Aimee Chanthadavong

Despite the continuation of the challenging retail environment, the Australian National Retailers Association (ANRA) is urging Fair Work Australia to consider a 2 per cent increase in the minimum wage in 2011.

The retail industry is an award-dependent sector and has absorbed the wage increase of 2010 and a strategy is needed to ensure not to burden those sectors still moving towards recovery.

Speaking to RetailBiz, ANRA CEO Margy Osmond said the 2 per cent increase is in correspondence to the country’s CPI.

“We think this is a sensible balance between the difficult retail environment and the CPI and what’s feasible with any increase is that it will be problematic but we believe it is within a sensible compromise,” she said.

According to Osmond, Australians are currently choosing to pay debt rather than make purchases, unless they are significantly discounted, resulting in the retail sector suffering.

“ We would hope, particularly amongst retail employees, that an extra dollar or two in their pocket would mean they might generate a strong retail outlook,” she said.