Annual Reports 1978-79


Ladies and Gentlemen,

In the absence of our President I have much pleasure in presenting the Annual Report.

Faint signs of improvement during the past two or three months suggest we may have reached the bottom of the trough. Only a supreme optimist would however, consider substantial sales lifts are imminent, and set about placing orders to accommodate such expectations.

Disturbing to note the downturn during the past year, shows a remarkable parrallel to those years from 1968 on.
Members may recall the same Minister of Finance then employed similar measures to curb consumer demand. Government controls and retrenchment moves stifled sales and generally made retailing most difficult.
Consumers suffered also, in that they were not always able to procure what they wanted to buy. The end result was of course, a change of Government in 1972 and the introduction of M.R.P. etecetera.

Suffice to say, one wonders what predicaments many New Zealand retailers would have confronted, had not our Federation Executives been successful in persuading Government to implement some form of tax relief earlier this year. The stock relief measures taken, were appropriate and all parties involved are deserving of our gratitude. Members will be relieved, that the Federation is seeking an extension of this assistance for the current financial year.

This conference, held in London some weeks ago, was attended by the following H.B. Association members.
Mr and Mrs Colin Blackmore
Mr David Etheridge
Mr and Mrs Richard Jones.
Those of us who have since spoken to these members, would have been as surprised as I was, when told that retail trade elsewhere in the Western world is booming.

Recently a Lower Hutt magistrate was reported to have dismissed several counts of shop-lifting against a defendant because “he was tired of his Court being clogged up with such cases”. Apparently that magistrate is unaware that this type of theft coats at least one national retail company more than $1 Million per annum and that total annual losses to NZ. retailers probably exceeds $100 Million.

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It is doubtful if there is any other single area of crime where the victims losses reach such massive proportions.
The Courts view therefore, is a puzzling one and hopefully an isolated instance, brought about by sheer frustration of an overworked magistrate. Nevertheless shop-lifting is theft and should be recognised and labeled as such. The term thief still carries a certain undesirable social connotation whereas the term shop-lifter now appears to be almost socially acceptable.
Perhaps it is time retailers sought changes in judicial terminology, and at the same time press for firmer application of penalties.

The first of these courses commenced last May and response has been good. The course itself is broadly based and those who enrolled have developed noticably. It should be noted that most of the tutoring has been done by the Association’s own members, without whose contribution the course would never have eventuated. I am confident that employers will get very good value for the $10,00 per student enrolment fee.

By now all retailers should have read about and thought about the introduction of visa cards by the Trading Banks, and considered the cost increases these cards will have on their businesses.
The Bank’s proposed changes are alarming and require examination.
One would expect a swing away from traditional time consuming transactions involving cheques and assorted cash, to reveal cost benefits to the Banks, rather than the reverse. Consequently it doesn’t follow that a substituted means of payment should carry any change either to the retailers or his customers.
If on the other hand, Banks are able to substantiate an operational cost increase by implementing visa cards, then retailers may rightfully ask why have them at all?
May I conclude by thanking, on behalf of our President and myself, members of your Executive for their support during the year.  Special thanks also to our loyal Secretary Jack Olsen, whose health I am glad to note is rapidly returning.

Ladies and gentlemen this report is submitted for your consideration.

C.F. Dudley.
Vice President.
14th August, 1978.



As our associations year draws to a close, and the opportunity is taken to reflect over that period, certain events of both provincial and national significance come to mind.

Firstly, despite ongoing government constraints, retail sales generally, have until more recent weeks, held up remarkably well. I believe we should not be overly pessimistic about the current downturn, and that we should expect to see more bouyant sales from September on.

I doubt greatly however, if many retailers have enjoyed percentage increases of the magnitude passed on by power authorities freight handlers and the N.Z. Post Office. Suffice to say, operating cost invoices in these areas, coupled with wage increases (in excess of 20% during 1978) and record-high bank lending rates, underline the vulnerability of our industry during an economic downturn.

There are feint [faint] signs that Government is responding, albeit slowly, to constant calls for fewer bureaucratic controls. It is even more encouraging to note that one of governments loudest critics is a former National Prime Minister.

Earlier this year, after persistent endeavours by our industries leaders, government finally removed price control measures. It is disturbing however, to note that under its new wage fixing policies the government has indicated that if necessary price control will again be introduced. This threat, again illustrates the preparedness of politicians to use our industry as a buffer, a political tool to appease the Federation of Labour.

Members may feel rest assured that every thing possible is being done to oppose re-introduction of price control.

Thanks largely to efforts by our Federation Executives the Bank of New Zealand introduction of Visa Cards, has been placed before a commission for examination. There is no doubt that had the bank introduced these cards unchallenged retailers margins of profit would have been substantially eroded. There are some indications now that a better deal is forthcoming.

Illegal trading in Hawkes Bay continues to keep your executive alert. We have enjoyed considerable success to date, and have been encouraged by the corrective measures taken by officers of the Napier City Council in particular.

The National Certificate in Retailing conducted at the H. B. Community College has again been successful.

Reports indicate retailers whose staff attended are more than pleased with the developement of their people. Memebers [Members] will I am sure, be grateful for the time and effort put in by fellow retailers who have conducted sessions. during this years course.

Finally may I take this opportunity of thanking executive members of your association for their contributions and support during the year. Special thanks of course to secretary, Jack Olsen whose experience, expertise and patience is constantly in demand.

C.F. Dudley

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