Australian retail spending ‘plateaued’ in April

(Source: Bigstock)

Retail spending rose 4.2 per cent year-on-year in April as consumers spent more than $35.2 billion in stores and online, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Although discretionary spending was low, restaurant and cafe services continued to do well.

By category, cafes, restaurants and takeaway services registered an increase of 13.2 per cent followed by department store sales at 6.5 per cent and clothing, footwear and accessories sales at 4.9 per cent.

Other retailing spending increased by 0.2 per cent while sales of household goods declined by 4.9 per cent.

Australian Retailers Association (ARA) CEO Paul Zahra said several categories showed “reasonable” year-on-year sales growth despite softer sales.

“Cost-of-living pressures are the greatest current concern for retailers and their customers and this continues to affect retail sales – a trend we expect to see continue in the coming months.”

Zahra flagged that price increases will have an impact on margins despite the positive results this month.

ABS head of retail statistics, Ben Dorber, said the slowdown in retail spending continued in April in response to cost-of-living pressures and rising interest rates.

“Spending was again soft in April but was boosted by increased spending on winter clothing in response to cooler and wetter than average weather across the country.”

By state, South Australia led with the highest growth in retail turnover at 7.6 per cent followed by ACT at 6.7 per cent, WA at 6.3 per cent, Victoria at 4.4 per cent, NSW at 4.3 per cent, Tasmania at 2.5 per cent and Queensland at 1.4 per cent.

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