According to the March Australian Retailers Index released today, almost one quarter of small to medium retailers have downsized their staff numbers in the last three months. However, 65 percent have kept up staffing levels and 11 percent have hired more staff in the same period.
Although lower consumer confidence is hurting the retail sector, the index shows that retailers remain optimistic about recovery.
Australian Retailers Association executive director Richard Evans says that if unemployment rates in the sector remain below six percent, there’s a good chance of growth for the sector later in the year. “We need to start putting some confidence back into the community, and that is that unemployment less than six percent is good news for Australia,” he said.
Evans encouraged consumers to work through their fear and start buying. “The narrative currently is putting fear through people in Australia, and what we need to save jobs is that fear to turn around,” he said. “That means that consumers need to re-enter the marketplace, and if they do, there’s some good deals on at the moment.”
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