Australian retailers can’t afford to simply rely on price wars to remain competitive in today’s economic climate, according to Richard Evans, executive director Australian Retailers Association (ARA).

Speaking at the upcoming National Retail Forum at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, Evans believes that stretched budgets are pushing retailers to be creative in their business strategies.

“The current economic climate – including the impact of interest rate rises – is the prime concern for retailers. Times are tough and people are not spending. To make matters worse, retailers can’t apply their normal mark-up to maintain margins because consumers simply won’t pay. The challenge for retailers is to remain competitive without relying on a price war,” said Evans.

“Retailers are thinking outside of the box to remain competitive with consumers and staff. From showing leadership with environmental issues including plastic bag usage to offering paid maternity leave and professional development training for loyal employees – innovation is helping retailers stand out from the crowd.”

Evans will join confirmed NRF speakers – including keynote Sally MacDonald, CEO, The Oroton Group; Sean Ashby, CEO, AussieBum; Pierce Cody, managing director, Macro Wholefoods; and Graeme Pearman, director, Graeme Pearman Consulting – in discussing the biggest challenges facing the industry.

National Retail Forum is held in conjunction with Retail Expo Australasia. Cisco Australia, Octanorm Australia, Toshiba TEC Australia, and Professional Advantage – a licensee of Microsoft – are among the 220 local and international exhibitors confirmed to showcase the latest retail solutions.

Visit for more information including pre-registration, speaker program and full exhibitor list.