The cost of transporting technology goods across Australia and artificially inflated rent for retail space is forcing Australian bricks and mortar retailers to pass on these costs to consumers, according to the Australian Retailers Association (ARA).
ARA executive director, Russell Zimmerman, told an inquiry hearing on Monday of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Communication that due to the size of Australia, the costs associated with transporting retail goods from one point in the country to another are high.
“It is also well documented that [retail] rents in Australia are artificially set higher against places like the US and Europe,” he said.
In addition, Zimmerman said that brick and mortar retailers in Australia will soon be required to pay retail staff time and a half for working on Saturday and double time for staff who work on Sunday. This is due to the introduction of the Modern Awards scheme pay rates in January 2010 which will be fully rolled out by 1 July 2014.
“You cannot sustain those kinds of rates in Australia in the long term because people will naturally go to buying [cheaper] products overseas,” he said.
For example, Zimmerman said consumers could travel to somewhere in Asia and import the Sony camera they want for a cheaper price.
“The downside to parallel importation is that you don’t get Australian retailer and consumer protections,” he said.
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