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Retail fails to fire in first quarter

Retail sector activity was sluggish over the first three months of the year, according to Retail NZ's latest Retail Radar report.

"Business uncertainty and unpredictable weather over the summer period saw 55 per cent of retailers report that they failed to hit their sales targets in the latest Retail Radar snapshot of retailer sentiment," Retail NZ Interim Chief Executive Greg Harford said today. "The positive performance of the sector in the December quarter has not carried on, with survey respondents reporting the worst performance reported in the Retail Radar survey since the third quarter of 2017.

"There is increasing economic and business uncertainty in the market, and consumer spending remains under real and sustained pressure. Additionally, the terrorist attack in Christchurch had a real impact on spending in that city during March.

"Looking ahead, retailers are expecting performance to improve as the season changes and as people get out and about during the school holidays. However, retailers are facing substantially higher costs on the back of increases in the minimum wage, and are deeply concerned about the potential business impacts if the Government pushes ahead with its plan for national wage accords, which could see a one-size-fits-all approach imposed across the entire retail sector. As a result, 30 per cent of retailers report that they expect to employ fewer staff over the coming months, continuing a trend that has been apparent ever since the 2017 general election."

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