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Oz Retail Industry Preps For Quick Return

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) says the local industry may return to work as early as next week, however, rental agreements remain a pain point for navigating challenging waters ahead.

The news follows reports Apple will open 21 of its Australian stores on Thursday, with additional safety processes including temperature checks for customers, and in-store limits.

logo of Australian Retailers Association

Speaking on ABC Radio National, CEO of the Australian Retailers Association, Paul Zahra, said some stores may begin reopening with mandatory social-distancing requirements, limited in-store numbers, heightened cleaning and more – posing a challenge to small store outlets.

Zahra stresses the importance of avoiding a ‘false start’, asserting whilst a quick return for the local retail industry is preferred, a “safe one” is its focus.

Negotiating rental agreements with landlords is tipped to be an ongoing point of discussion for most retailers.

Zahra states it’s not unlikely COVID19 has changed retail forever’,  with more businesses moving online and ramping up their digital capabilities prompt by the pandemic.

Retailers are expected to further move towards contactless shopping (or place optional parameters), with items like spraying and testing a fragrance now a concern (being ‘high-touch’).

Reports suggest local retailers like Kathmandu may even reopen stores this week.

The news follows latest ANZ-Roy Morgan numbers that local consumer confidence has increased for the fifth consecutive week.

“We think that the gain over the past week is predominantly attributable to the further easing of COVID-19 restrictions and optimism surrounding the daily new cases figure,” states  said David Plank, ANZ Head of Australian Economics.

“There is a long way to go before sentiment gets to levels where people can be said to be optimistic, however.”

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