Retail chief warns of tough times, but doesn’t see more collapses just yet

By Paul Hayes

BRISBANE, QLD: While the failure of Clive Peeters may not have come as a total shock given the current state of sales, it doesn’t mean other retailers are set to follow into receivership, according to executive director of the National Retail Association, Gary Black.

Speaking to, Black said there was “some awareness” in the industry that Clive Peeters had been fighting an uphill battle to stay afloat.

“The failure of Clive Peeters is not indicative of likely failures across the board.

“Clive Peeters had been facing difficulties for some time.”

While Black does not believe the Clive Peeters collapse will soon be followed by other retailers, he does warn that jobs may be lost in the bumpy times still ahead.

“I wouldn’t underestimate the headwinds several retailers are sailing into, and I don’t expect that situation to ease for some months.

“From that I certainly see some contraction in the retail labour market.”

Black said the he agrees with the opinion among retailers that the impact of last year’s stimulus payments may have been underestimated, creating unrealistic expectations for growth for this year.

“The stimulus funded many higher end purchases.

“Retailers then forecasted improvements over last year which in reality were just not possible after the stimulus.

“Many retailers are ignoring 2009 and looking back to 200 sales figures to get a more accurate picture.”

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