Economy

Myer boss says World Youth Day will be “catastrophic” for sales

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Sydney retailers predict they will lose tens of millions of dollars as shoppers avoid the city during the Catholic Church’s 10-day World Youth Day event.

Sydney retailers predict they will lose tens of millions of dollars as shoppers avoid the city during the Catholic Church’s 10-day World Youth Day event.

Bernie Brookes, CEO of Myer, told The Sydney Morning Herald that road closures and warnings to the public to stay away would have “catastrophic” consequences. He expects the Myer city store to lose between $20 million and $30 million in sales during the event.

The limited budgets and lack of shopping time for pilgrims mean any rise in sales is unlikely, says the executive director of the Australian Retailers Association, Michael Lonie.

“Basically they, [association members] are concerned that the city is going to be deserted and people are being encouraged not to come.”

However, the body that represents big business in Sydney has told retailers to get behind the event, which it predicts will market the city as a successful venue for big events. A statement from the Sydney Chamber of Commerce’s executive director, Patricia Forsythe, said the “level of cynicism is disappointing”.

“All this naysaying begs the question of whether we are a global city or a provincial outpost,” she says. “Sydney must have an aggressive approach towards attracting major events, given the competitiveness of the international tourism market and the strength of the Aussie dollar.”

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