Recently released Deloitte research gave federal members of parliament a clear picture of the characteristics, operations and complex issues unique to independent retailers for the first time.
Australian Retailers Association (ARA) executive director Russell Zimmerman said independent retailers who are typically operating as sole proprietors, partnerships or family run businesses hoped the results of the ARA State of the Independent Retail Sector Report would give the smaller guys in the fashion, service station, newsagency and convenience store sector more political clout.
“The ARA State of the Independent Retail Sector Report revealed an overwhelming feeling the government didn’t give enough support to independent retailers despite the fact they each provide jobs for an average five to 10 staff, totalling over 108,000 Australians working for independent fashion, service station, newsagency and convenience stores across the country,” he said.
In the wake of the global financial crisis and with declining sales and difficulties retaining staff, the most common challenges for independent retailers are: managing the compliance costs associated with new legislation (including time and administrative burden of understanding new workplace regulation); their capacity to compete with major players; access to working capital and cash flow; and managing low margins and high volumes.
“The costs to comply with new legislation are usually the same for all retailers big or small, but independent retailers just don’t have the same resources as larger operators.
“The new research also highlighted the relatively short time frames to implement legislative changes put additional pressure on independent operators who are often working on the shop floor as well as trying to manage staff and store operations,” said Zimmerman.