The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has slammed retail giant Gerry Harvey for 'laughing off' the real concerns of smaller retailers across the country at a panel discussion late last week.
ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman said the majority of retailers across Australia would be fuming at Harvey's arrogant comments and lackadaisical attitude towards the tough economic conditions and reduced consumer demand seriously damaging retail trade.
"Any retail giant that has the hide to laugh off the very genuine concerns of smaller retailers is completely out of touch," Zimmerman said. 
"While Harvey may not be feeling the impact of current retail trading conditions, smaller retailers are spending every waking hour trying to get customers in the door and hold onto their staff.
The June ARA Australian Retailers Index will show confidence levels for small retailers are the lowest of any small business sector and you only need to look at ABS retail trade figures to see consumers are tightening their belts and slowing down their spending.
"In April 2010 total retail sales were only up 1.8 per cent compared to the same time last year,” said Zimmerman.
“This is appalling growth and well below the current rate of inflation. Sales for particular retail categories including clothing, footwear and personal accessories, are actually in decline from last year.
"I might take this opportunity to remind Harvey he represents only one retail brand, and lucky for him he's doing quite well, but unfortunately he isn't representative of the broader retail sector," Zimmerman said.