The chief executive of Australia’s largest retailer, Woolworths Ltd, today (3 June) hit an optimistic note when he suggested that the Australian economy would likely “recover well” from the downturn.

According to local reports, Michael Luscombe told an Australian National Retailers Association (ANRA) function in Sydney that Australia is “going to come out of this a little bit stronger than perhaps people are thinking at the moment”.

According to Luscombe’s assessment, a key – and “unknown” – factor is employment.

“If we can manage to keep as many Australians in jobs as possible then I think that, given China has sent a signal to the world that it is in business again, then there is no doubt we can actually come out, in my personal belief, a little bit quicker and a little bit stronger then perhaps we thought a week ago,” he reportedly told his audience.

According to the latest Australian economic growth figures, GDP rose by 0.4% in the March quarter, meaning Australia avoided technically going into recession.