Peak retail industry body the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) said the decision made by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) today to lower the cash rate by 25 basis points to 2.5 percent is a welcome change for struggling retailers.

ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said the RBA have stepped in to ‘save the furniture’ with the decision to lower interest rates, especially in the face of a lack of economic leadership and an upcoming election campaign.

“The RBA have provided some relief to Australian retailers, although it is concerning that this cut has come on the back of flat retail sales, predictions of rising unemployment and falling consumer and business confidence.

“The ARA are now calling on the banks to pass this rate cut in full to consumers and businesses.

“What Australia needs now that we are in an election are clear commitments from both political parties regarding business growth, flexibility and lower taxes along with genuine tax and workplace reform.

“While rate cut decisions are no silver bullet for retail sales, the sector will at least be hopeful some of the financial pressure on shoppers eases, and this will make way for growth and employment within the $258 billion industry.

“Retailers are optimistic that this interest cut may encourage consumers to let go of their purse strings somewhat, especially as we enter the warmer spring and summer months and the lead up to the Christmas period,” Mr Zimmerman said.

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