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Retail NZ welcomes alert level move

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Retail NZ says it’s good news for the retail sector that Auckland is moving back to Alert Level 2 from Sunday morning, and the rest of the country is moving back to Level 1.

"Retailers throughout the country will be really pleased that COVID-19 Alert Levels are moving on Saturday," Greg Harford, Retail NZ’s Chief Executive said today. "Retailer confidence has slumped since mid-February, and although the sector has proven to be very resilient over the past year, each lockdown gets harder for businesses to manage. It is good news that we are now moving back down the Alert Levels, and retailers will be hoping that we can get back to Level 1 quickly and stay there.

"Retailers throughout the country have been impacted by the Auckland lockdown, partly because Aucklanders are unable to travel at Level 3, and particularly because the elevated Alert Levels have led to customers being more cautious in getting out and about. Although online shopping is growing in significance, and was permitted at Level 3, the physical and social experience of shopping in person is still a key driver of retail spending, and the Auckland lockdown has had a chilling effect on retail right through the country.

"Retail NZ is asking the Government to step up support for retailers on a store by store basis, to help those who operate across multiple regions. While it’s great that the Wage Subsidy is available, the criteria are too tight to support everyone who needs help. Some businesses will be significantly impacted in Auckland, but might not hit the 40 per cent threshold across all their stores nationally, which means they miss out on support. At the same time, a competing business that only operates stores in Auckland is advantaged by being able to access the Wage Subsidy."

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