ARA Applauds NSW Government steps to ease impacts of Covid-19 on retail community

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has welcomed the extension of two important measures by the NSW Government which respond to the ARA’s advocacy on behalf of the $325 billion retail sector and will help support a retail recovery in the state.

The measures are:

· The Retail and Other Commercial Leases (COVID-19) Regulation as well tax breaks for commercial landlords who reduce rent for commercial tenants to December 31, 2020 and

· The extension of flexible trading regulations for retailers until March 25, 2021.

ARA CEO Paul Zahra said this is a double win for the retail community in NSW.

“Rents are one of the biggest expenses for retailers, especially SMBs, and adding a few more months onto the previous support measures can make a big difference, especially at this critical time of year when we head into the Christmas shopping period. Lower rents will mean retailers will be able to replenish their cash reserves faster, and give business owners a buffer if holiday sales prove weaker than normal.”

“The ARA advocated to create this important protection for retailers which resulted in the establishment of the National Leasing Code of Conduct earlier this year.  We have strongly championed this extension with Federal and State Governments – with successful outcomes to-date in Queensland, South Australia, Victoria, WA, Tasmania and now NSW.”

The NSW announcement included important landlord relief and additional funding for the work of the Small Business Commissioner, which is a vital support for any tenants experiencing challenges negotiating with landlords.

Mr Zahra said the state’s extension of flexible trading regulations was another request the ARA had been calling for nationally and would allow retailers to be more nimble during the ongoing and uncertain pandemic.

“Giving supermarkets, pharmacies and corner shops the option to stay open to trade and to receive goods around the clock will not only help business owners with their planning in this environment, it will also allow consumers to spread out their shopping day, which could result in less congestion in the shops.”

“We thank the NSW government for their definitive response in supporting businesses through this crisis,” said Mr Zahra.

The ARA’s advocacy work with the Federal Government has resulted in five states now extending their leasing code protections beyond September – including Queensland, West Australia, South Australia and Victoria.

/Public Release. The material in this public release comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here.