Optimistic consumers, despite inflated prices: the boss of Wesfarmers – channelnews

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Wesfarmers CEO Rob Scott told attendees at a business conference this morning that consumers are showing ‘confidence’ and ‘a sense of optimism’ as retail reopens.

This is despite this morning’s consumer confidence survey from Westpac which showed the opposite, with sentiment at its lowest since September 2020.

“Unemployment is low, household savings are high and I think we can look to the rest of this year, at least nationally, with a growing sense of confidence,” he said.

“Across most of Australia, as restrictions ease and markets start to open up, we are seeing an increase in business and consumer activity.

“There has been a real recovery recently as people are starting to look ahead with a sense of optimism about the future.

Scott noted that many companies were forced to pass on rising costs to the consumer, who in turn was more price-conscious.

“We are seeing more cost pressure now than six months ago,” he said.

“For some of our companies involved in manufacturing and sourcing products that will hit our shelves within six to nine months.

“We are seeing pressure that will carry over to the rest of the year. If your costs go up, you’ll find a way to try to pass them on.

“It has been quite an unusual time through Covid with high levels of household savings.

“In the future, the value will become more important.”

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