By Claire Reilly

SYDNEY, NSW: One of Australia’s key retail lobby groups is predicting the Federal Government’s new carbon pricing scheme will have tough consequences on retailers, according to results from a survey of 500 retailers released over the weekend.

The Australian Retailers Association surveyed 500 retailers across the industry from 27 July to 5 August 2011, and found that 83 per cent of retailers expect consumers to spend less thanks to the new Government scheme.

In addition, the ARA said over a third of retailers would “pass on price increases to consumers”, and over a third would of retailers surveyed expected to “shed staff as a result of lost trade” according to a statement citing the survey results.

Speaking about the results, ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman evoked images of Aussie battlers doing it tough under the Government’s new “tax”.

“This isn’t about big business whining over cost increases and their bottom line; these are small retailers who are families, single mothers or young couples trying to support themselves in life just like all working Australians,” Zimmerman said.

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“Over a third of retailers surveyed said they would shed staff as a result of lost trade due to the carbon tax and a further quarter just weren’t sure what the effects of the tax would mean for their staffing levels. As an industry that’s Australia’s largest employer of people, this is a disastrous finding.

“Over a third of retailers surveyed said they’re planning to pass on carbon tax driven price rises onto to consumers but a further quarter are worried they won’t be able to pass on these costs given consumer sentiment is already at an all- time low."

Zimmerman added that increasing costs would ultimately land on retailers.

“Every link in the supply chain – including manufacturing and rail, road or sea delivery- will pass on their cost increases as a result of the carbon tax to the next link,” he said. “All of these costs compound on the way and fall straight into retailers’ laps for them to either absorb or pass on to consumers.” has contacted the ARA for comment and details of the full survey results.