By Aimee Chanthadavong

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) said when it comes to appointing the next federal government, it should happen with a focus on stability to help smaller, independent retailers.

Russell Zimmerman, ARA executive director, told retailbiz that smaller retailers are suffering against the larger chain stores.

“They don’t have power compared to larger companies. For example, when the larger companies give discounts of up to 70 per cent, they can’t compete,” Zimmerman said.

“The industry is changing its making it harder for independent retailers.”

The ARA has suggested that once the new government steps in, it should provide greater representation to the industry; reduce legislative burden on small businesses; address workplace relation laws, particularly in areas of providing school kids flexible working hours; and ease government debt to provide opportunity for growth.

At present, due the level of uncertainty of a hung government, retailers are currently seeing a flattening of sales.

“We think it’s the lack of customer confidence in this point in time, therefore we need decisions and stability in the government and we want to see great representations in this new government,” Zimmerman said.

He also noted that based on the results of the recently released ARA State of the Independent Retail Sector Report there is an “overwhelming feeling the government doesn’t give enough support to independent retailers who are the cornerstones of local communities.”