"I am feeling positive about the NZ apparel and fashion industry. At time of writing Paymark have released impressive retail sale figures for December 2014, showing a 300 million dollar increase from the same time in 2013, plus an increase in number of transactions by almost 200,000.

These figures are impossible to show precise apparel spending, however the overall upward trend is comforting. The increased spending is no suprise, our shopping precincts look great, both Auckland CBD and Newmarket, and of course Ponsonby have undergone major renovation. Christchurch’s Cashel St Mall is very cool, showing such resourceful architectural design, and the same can be said for The Tannery. Both Wellington and Dunedin provide really comfortable shopping experiences, with concentrated shopping areas.

Day to day running of a rag trade business has never been easier, with online accounting software brands such as Xero, a business owner can save enormous costs in calculating there own tax, GST, and reports like a real time P & L, and more importantly providing us with instant data to the health of our business. NZ brands either manufacturing locally or importing, are facing more competition than ever, paticularly in Auckland, with the arrival of overseas brands such as Topshop, Zara, and Cotton On Queen St, bringing their international style of retailing. That said, I think as Kiwis we are parochial to NZ fashion, as we are also loyal to NZ art and music. That may leave the international brands to fight for the same dollar with the already established offshore chain stores that have been here for years.

NZ government needs to play a part in our industry. The lack of attention to offshore consumer internet shopping, in particular the non charging of GST and duty on internet purchasing is of concern. We all want competition, but it needs to be on a level playing field. The huge tax benefit, and protection for NZ businesses is obvious. I would also like to see promotion of our fashion designers on the world stage, through government assistance for our designers to showcase at international fashion weeks, i.e NY or London."