The Retail Council considers its future

AnnaMcPheeThe Retail Council is in a period of transition as it weighs up its options as CEO Anna McPhee, pictured, remains on extended leave due to health concerns.

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McPhee, who launched The Retail Council in June 2015, when it rebranded from the Australian National Retailers’ Association (ANRA), went on extended leave in March for undisclosed health reasons. The industry association is currently looking for an interim CEO to run the organisation and its initiatives until McPhee is able to return.

Peter Birtles, group managing director and CEO of Super Retail Group and chairman of the board at The Retail Council, said the organisation hopes for McPhee to return to the CEO role in six to nine months. “The Retail Council has granted Anna a period of extended personal leave so she can focus on her health,” Birtles said. “We are taking the opportunity to consider the best ongoing role and structure of The Retail Council and whether there are opportunities to work towards a greater level of unified representation for the retail industry.”

While suggesting that there may be a future in which Australia’s leading retail industry bodies – the Australian Retailers Association, the National Retail Association and The Retail Council – may work together more cohesively, Birtles said The Retail Council still has an important role to play in Australian retail.

“The Retail Council represents some of Australia’s largest and best-known retail businesses and we believe it can play an influential role in promoting the interests of the whole industry,” he said. “In addition to working on influencing policy, we will continue to support our Women In Retail initiative and look to establish a Retail Industry Sales Monitor.”

According to its website, The Retail Council counts amongst its members some of Australia’s largest retailers, including Bunnings, Coles, Big W, Costco, David Jones, Harvey Norman, Best & Less, Dymocks, Forty Winks, The Just Group, 7-Eleven, Luxottica, Officeworks, Petbarn, Super Retail Group, Target, The Co-op and Woolworths.

At the launch of The Retail Council in June last year, Birtles said, “There is a substantial opportunity for the retail sector to deliver sustainable growth, support job creation, and boost productivity and economic growth. I believe the Retail Council is best positioned to support the development of public policy for the retail sector that meets these objectives.”

The last instalment of The Retail Council’s Women In Retail series of events was held last month and featured Catriona Noble, managing director, retail distribution, Australia, at ANZ.

The series has also featured keynote presentations from the likes of Woolworths Limited chairman, Gordon Cairns; Donna Player, group executive of merchandise, apparel, footwear, accessories and home, at David Jones; Shoes Of Prey CEO, Jodie Fox; and Microsoft Australia managing director, Pip Marlow.

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