Myer Boss On Labour Costs: 'We Ain't World Competitive'

Sarah-Jane Clarke and Bernie Brookes sit front row during the Myer Spring/Summer Fashion Launch show as part of Mercedes Benz Fashion Festival Sydney 2011. Photo: Getty/Lisa Maree Williams

Myer CEO Bernie Brookes says high wages and restrictions on opening hours have severely decreased the competitiveness of Australian bricks and mortar retailers with overseas and online stores.

Blair Speedy of The Australian reports that Brookes has taken issue with state regulations that restrict opening hours, shopping centre leases that force retailers to keep stores open at poorly trafficked hours, tax rates for online retailers, and Government-mandated minimum wages.

Here’s what Brookes told the Australian Retail Association this morning, according to the Aus:

[Retail merchandise is] picked out of a distribution centre in Birmingham at GBP4.30 ($7.12)an hour, and we’re trying to get that same product picked at a distribution centre in Altona at $27 an hour, and if it’s after-hours in-store, it’s $40 to $50 an hour.

When we open on Anzac Day, I think the cheapest person is $62 an hour because of the penalty rates.

We ain’t world-competitive and we ain’t got a chance of being world-competitive.

We have seen an enormous uncompetitiveness occur and decreasing productivity in Australia, that I think the next generation should not only be scared about, but they should be frightened to the extent of making more noise to do something about it.

There’s more on The Aus.

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