The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) Retail Institute in partnership with the Victorian Government will be offering free Retail Excellence Workshops, a series of four workshops held from February to April 2012.

ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman said the workshops, to be piloted in the Whitehorse, Bayside and Warrnambool areas, were designed to keep retailers competitive and relevant to the local community in the face of major structural changes in the retail industry.

“The ARA Retail Institute Retail Excellence Workshops will cover four topics: Entertain with visual merchandising, engage with superior customer service, maintain with financial control and connect with strategic marketing.

“The joint initiative is one which acknowledges the vital role retail plays in Victoria’s small business sector and the importance of remaining viable and innovative as the industry evolves and changes occur in response to the global economy and consumer demand.

“There will be a series of four workshops in the Whitehorse, Bayside and Warnambool areas which will give retailers practical skills for responding to changes in areas such as visual merchandising, customer service, retailing online, financial control, consumer trends and performance solutions.

“The world of retail is changing and retailers are finding they have to respond to these changes through innovations in products, service and ensuring they have a multi- channel presence as Australians operate and conduct business in both online and physical environments.

“At the end of the day, a small business is successful if it can respond effectively to its markets, compete and at the end of the day remain viable as an operation. Retailers will benefit from workshops which address key business areas and show government backing and support to the retail sector and its future,” Zimmerman said.

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