Most retailers to bump prices by 7.5 pct in bid to stay afloat - survey

A new survey has found 90 percent of all New Zealand retailers are looking to bump up their prices by 7.5 percent as the cost of living hits Kiwis' back pockets.

They're hiking their prices in a bid to stay afloat but 35 percent of retailers aren't even sure if their doors will be open in a year.

"The fact that 90 percent are saying they're putting their prices up is a worrying number but it reflects really the cost pressures the retail sector is under," said Retail NZ chief executive Greg Harford.

Shoe shop owner Don Wearing, who runs Mischief Shoes, has been in the business for 30 years.

While he loves his business, he said running a shop has been really difficult.

The past 18 months have been a retail recipe for disaster. But it's not just been COVID - the sector said it's also things like the minimum wage increase, the doubling of sick leave and never-ending global supply chain issues that have left them feeling the pinch. 

"Without a doubt what we'd call a perfect storm. Everything that could hit a business challenge-wise has come at once," Wearing said.

"We've all got to that point where the sponge is just about full, it can't soak up any more."

With a cost of living crisis already hitting Kiwis in the back pocket, what do consumers think about the prospect of pushed-up prices?

"Fair enough, they've got to make a living," one person said.

"Yeah it's shocking," said another.

"On a student allowance, it's so tight already, it makes getting the bare essentials even harder," a third added.

More than half of retailers also said they're dissatisfied with the Government's COVID response and are desperately crying out for a move to the orange traffic light setting.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern denied she'd lost the sector's confidence.

"No, from our perspective, absolutely not. Have we been going through a difficult time that's been impacting our retailers? Absolutely, as has the world," she said.

But Harford disagreed.

"I don't think there's a real understanding sometimes in Government about the true impact of everything that's happened on businesses," he said.