Retailer has high hopes for Xmas
THE boss of one of Australia's biggest retailers has downplayed industry concerns that soft consumer spending will result in a quiet Christmas for the struggling sector.
Anthony Heraghty is preparing for his first festive season as the CEO of brand powerhouse Super Retail Group after taking the reins in January.
The company boasts BCF, Supercheap Auto, macpac and Rebel in its portfolio, which last financial year recorded $2.71 billion in national sales.
The 46-year-old company boss expected a busy holiday season for retailers and downplayed Monday's softer-than-expected trade figures, which showed record-low interest rates and tax offsets failed to significantly stimulate the sector.
"Retail is all about what happens in the second quarter... Christmas," he said.
The retail boss, who has more than two decades of leadership experience in the sector, said this year's low consumer spending was "not any different" or worse than recent years.
"The customer has been volatile for some time now," he said.
He believes the commentary around low consumer spending is in part due to high expectations about the effect of the government's tax cuts.
"We would expect to see stronger results across the sector but that said, the peak period is still to come," Mr Heraghty said.
At its annual general meeting in Brisbane last month the Super Retail Group CEO told shareholders increased promotional activity helped it ride out a tough retail environment, with total sales up 4.2 per cent year-to-date.
Mr Heraghty was not concerned increased promotional expenditure shouldered the sales growth.
"We're satisfied with the performance we updated the market on at the AGM was at or above expectation," he said.
Mr Heraghty, who described his first ten months in the top job as "fun", said he would spend the next six months working to replicate Super Retail Group's successful bricks-and-mortar business to the digital world.
"Our challenge is to digitise the business to deliver the same super retailing experience in an omni-retail world," he said.
Mr Heraghty describes the group's 6.1 million active club members, those who have shopped and scanned a loyalty card within 12 months, as the company's "special sauce".
"We have tremendous potential to leverage this membership base and grow revenue," he said.
"Leveraging our club members is the main game for revenue growth."