By Aimee Chanthadavong

Target made its position obvious in the highly controversial advertising campaign against the Government on Tuesday to remove tax rules that allowed Australian consumers to buy goods overseas without paying GST.

But the rest of Wesfarmer’s retail brands, including Bunnings hardware group, Coles, Officeworks and Kmart was no where to be seen.

However, Alan Carpenter, Wesfarmers spokesperson, has confirmed with Retailbiz that “Wesfarmers agrees with and totally supports Target’s position on this issue”.

The full-page advertisements, which appeared in major Australian newspapers, is being endorsed by a collation of 22 Australian retail chains. 

Carpenter also defended claims made by Choice’s Chrisopher Zinn who said in a statement on Tuesday that retailers need to recognise that it’s their high prices, limited range and poor customer service that is driving customers away.
“The issue is about a discriminatory tax regime,” he said.

Meanwhile, assistant treasurer Bill Shorten believes Australian retailers are exaggerating that the low value threshold on imported goods is responsible for the tough Christmas period.

"There is no denying that retailers are doing it tough, but other factors like the high Aussie dollar, the ongoing aftershocks of the GFC and the fact that Australians are simply spending less this Christmas are having a much greater impact than the absence of a 10% GST on a small number of overseas imports," he said in a statement.

"Consumers enjoy shopping online because it offers them choice, convenience and often discounts far beyond 10%, because international retailers have embraced the digital economy and have developed sophisticated and consumer friendly business models."