Growth in online shopping put pressure on retail businesses

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The NSW Government says it is set to secure the competitive future of the state’s retail sector with a new discussion paper seeking public and industry feedback.

Planning Minister Anthony Roberts said on Friday the retail sector, the state’s second largest employer,  was integral to the NSW community.

“Retail is vital to the NSW economy, employing about 420,000 people each year and adding $95.6 billion to the state’s economy,” he said.

“Last year retail was the second largest employer in NSW, and the third largest in regional NSW, so it is imperative to get this right for all communities across the state.

“But the industry is rapidly changing, so it’s vital we adapt our legislation to protect the sector and the thousands employed in it.”

The discussion paper identifies ways customer trends are shaping retail now and proposes directions for retail planning into the future.

“The pressures on retail businesses are immense. Customers are demanding more. They can now shop online at any time of day, almost anywhere and either pick up their goods or have them delivered, sometimes within hours of purchase,” Mr Roberts said.

“Amazon, eBay and Alibaba have changed the role of the retail bricks and mortar forever. Currently, online retailing equates to about eight per cent of total retail sales across Australia.

“This share is forecast to double by 2025. The bricks and mortar retail network needs flexibility to compete with the online retail sector.”

The paper follows recommendations made in late 2017 by the Retail Expert Advisory Committee – a committee made up of industry experts tasked with finding what improvements can be made in planning for the sector.

The department is keen to hear community and industry feedback on the initiatives in the discussion paper to ensure that the NSW planning system responds to the changing retail landscape.

The discussion paper is on exhibition until May 18. To view the discussion paper or make a submission, visit www.planning.nsw.gov.au/retailplanning