Consumer confidence has hit a 15-year low, and buyers are thinking twice before spending according to Katherine Sampson, CEO, Healthy Habits, and speaker at National Retail Forum at the Sydney convention and exhibition centre in August. 

“Customers are cutting back on their spending. Even people who are not struggling are thinking before spending – it has become culture for almost everyone right now,” says Sampson.

“A lack of consumer confidence, increasing site rentals by landlords, increased competition in the marketplace, lower salaries for women and consumer lifestyle choices are some of the biggest issues facing the retail industry,” says Sampson.

In these uncertain economic times, retailers must respond to customer expectations, trends and challenges, while making sure costs remain low.

“It’s an interesting time for retailers as Australians deal with a potential recession, stretched household budgets and environmental concerns,” says Peter O’Flynn, event manager, National Retail Forum.

He adds National Retail Forum’s program focuses on the day-to-day problems and solutions that retailers face, including effective management, sustainability, brand communication, alternative forms of retail, and store design.

Participating in The Future of Retail in Australia, a panel discussion at National Retail Forum, Sampson will join other industry leaders to discuss the industry’s most confronting issues: consumer trends and attitudes; women in retail; non-conventional retailing; the luxury boom, and what’s happening on the global market.

Sampson will feature alongside Roger Gillespie, CEO, Bakers Delight and president, Australian Retailers Association; James Lavdas, managing director, Beach Culture; Shaf Dewani, director, Aesthetics Group, and Jack Hanrahan, national retailer relations manager, Westfield, on the panel.

Other National Retail Forum speakers include Sally McDonald, CEO, The Oroton Group; Pierce Cody, managing director, Macro Wholefoods; Dr Graeme Pearman, director, Graeme Pearman Consulting and past advisor to Al Gore; and Sean Ashby, CEO, Aussie Bum.

National Retail Forum is held in conjunction with Retail Expo Australasia. For more information, including registration, visit