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Retailers are boosting staff numbers in anticipation of an improvement in consumer spending, according to the Australian Retailers Association.                 retail

The industry group’s executive director, Richard Evans, said surveys of association members showed a 12 per cent jump in employment for small and medium-sized retailers this month, painting a much more positive picture than figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics earlier this month.

The number of people employed in the retail sector fell by less than 0.1 per cent last month compared with February, on a seasonally adjusted basis, but the ABS also reported an increase in underutilisation—the proportion of the workforce that is either unemployed or not working as many hours as it would like.

The rate of underutilisation among female workers was 9.1per cent last month, compared with 6.4 per cent for men, which the ABS attributed to the larger proportion of women working in industries with high levels of casual employment, such as retail.

However, Mr Evans said most retailers were holding on to skilled staff in preparation for rising demand, with 68 per cent reporting no change in employment levels in the past quarter.

“A further 16 per cent of retailers actually increased their number of staff during the same period,” he said.

“Retailing works in cycles, and although the sector has experienced a downturn, good retailers are doing their best to hold on to skilled staff as consumer confidence continues to grow and a new type of consumer emerges.”

The same trend was in play among the bigger retailers, with David Jones boosting staffing levels around the Mother’s Day shopping period after the delivery of the federal government’s fiscal stimulus package in April led to a sharp rebound in sales.

Mr Evans said the stimulus package and lower interest rates meant most consumers had more cash available to spend, but “negative and fear-filled commentary” had fuelled a tendency among consumers to cut discretionary spending in favour of saving or paying off debt.

This meant shoppers would be in a better position to spend when confidence picks up again—with the ARA forecasting an improvement as soon as the September quarter.

Source  :  www.careerone.com.au

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A Swan Valley tourist resort is the latest outlet to be named and shamed on WA’s ever-growing filthy restaurant register.

The Swan Valley Oasis Restaurant and Function Centre at Henley Brook is the 46th eatery to be so exposed on the ‘Notifications of Convictions’ list published by the the WA Health Department.

As revealed first on WAtoday, the venue was fined $8,750, and ordered to pay $1571.70 in costs, for hygiene breaches including:                swan valley

– allowing vermin into the restaurant;
– exposing food to possible contamination; and
– failing to ensure the premises and appliances were clean.

The restaurant is part of the Swan Valley Oasis Resort, which also boasts a golf course and boutique brewery.

The eatery serves breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week, and is a popular wedding reception venue.

Testimonials on the venue’s website include one from Helen, of Hong Kong.

“Clean, relaxed and family-friendly – really pleased to have found a nice, reasonably-priced place to stay before heading out of Perth,” Helen wrote.

According to the website, Rebecca, of Paynes Find, was “pleasantly surprised by the quality of the meals and service”.  Samantha, of Albany, found the venue “very clean and neat” and said she would “definitely be back”.

Since September 2006, the 46 prosecuted food outlets have together been fined in excess of $170,000.

However, this might only be the thin edge of the potato wedge, because it is not compulsory for local authorities to report breaches to the government.

Hence, only hygiene breaches in 11 of WA’s 139 local authorities appear on the government’s dirt list.

After WAtoday.com.au exposed the initial 41 list inductees in January, Health Minister Kim Hames rejected a call by consumer group Choice to post hygiene ratings on restaurant doors.

Mr Hames said that hygeine breaches from every local council would be added to the list when mandatory reporting was introduced under a new Food Act that is being drafted.

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