It’s a momentous time of year for Australian small businesses. Christmas is fast approaching, and along with it comes the excitement and fervour of the annual holiday season.

It’s always a busy time of year, but there’s one key difference in 2017. The US retail juggernaut, Amazon, is set to land on Australian shores (after years of rumour), bringing with it US$530 billion worth of repower. Understandably it has everyone, from the largest department stores to our humblest corner stores, unsure of what the future might bring.

Thankfully, our retail industry is in good shape.

We recently launched Xero Small Business Insights, a monthly snapshot of the small business economy, to track and monitor how this big driver of our economy is performing. Built with support from KPMG Enterprise, it provides one of the most comprehensive looks at key performance metrics for small businesses, including cashflow, getting paid, hiring people and global trade.

The Christmas season marks not only the peak sales period for the retail industry each year, but plays a significant role in shaping the 12 months that follow. The latest Xero Small Business Insights show just how prepared businesses are. The number of retailers who are cash flow positive — a key measure of profitability and potential for survival — has been rising in recent years, while the number of late payments to all businesses continued to fall during 2017.

The changes, while gradual, are crucial for the success of the local retail industry, especially in light of the challenges they could face in coming months.

Amazon is expected to arrive any day now – potentially before Christmas. The move has many nervous, and its arrival may herald a new age of retail in Australia.

Inside the Xero Small Business Insights — Deck the Halls Report we look at what Australia’s small retailers are doing to prepare for Christmas, Amazon’s arrival, and the potential pitfalls of failing to prepare.