The chief executive officer of Australian fashion brand sass + bide has suggested that Australia’s falling dollar will do little to support the nation’s retailers.
In a June interview with the Australian Financial Review, David Briskin asserted that the slipping dollar has several knock-on effects for local retail.
While a strong dollar brought its own challenges – buyers found their money went further at some international retailers and gravitated to overseas brands such as ASOS, for example – a falling currency can put the squeeze on manufacturing margins.
Mr Briskin explained that many fashion retailers carry out their manufacturing operations overseas – a tighter dollar means they have less room in the budget.
Elsewhere, high rents for bricks-and-mortar retail spaces across the country also remain a concern. And compounding the problem, many customers are now shopping online due to the convenience factor, rather than because it represents the least expensive option.
On the subject of the slightly weaker dollar, he told the AFR: “It might lead to a slight reversal [in the number of people shopping on overseas websites], but basically people are buying online for convenience as well as the product range available.”
He added: “[The decrease in the dollar] won’t make a huge difference…It’s still very attractive for people to buy online.”
Earlier this month, the Australian Retailers Association expressed frustration with the current cash rate, which has been held at 2.75 per cent again for July.
The association’s executive director Russell Zimmerman observed on July 4 that a cut in the cash rate – ideally bringing it down to 2.5 per cent – could do much to boost consumer confidence, which would be a shot in the arm for Australian retailers.