The National Retail Association (NRA) says the results were in line with pre-Christmas trading forecasts released by the NRA late last year, and show that retail continues to experience steady growth.
The official Christmas trade figure for 2015 came in at $44.63 billion, compared with the NRA’s forecast of $44.5 billion.
Cameron Meiklejohn, NRA industry research and data analyst, said the results given by the ABS, shows retailers enjoyed a modest and sensible pre-Christmas spending period.
According to Meiklejohn, the “good result gives retailers and their employees reason to be confident as we head into 2016.”
Growth was evenly spread across the states, with Victoria the best at 0.4 per cent for the month, followed by New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, and Tasmania – all with 0.3 per cent for the month.
Food retailing, household goods, department stores, clothing, footwear and personal accessories all performed strongly in the lead up to Christmas, with 0.4 per cent growth across the board.
Other retailing and cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services were relatively unchanged in trend terms in December 2015.
Over the December quarter, retail sales rose by 0.6 per cent to $72.06 billion in seasonally adjusted volume terms.
Russell Zimmerman, executive director of the Australian Retailers’ Association, said they are “hopeful the trend of steady growth will continue throughout 2016, with many retailers well positioned to leverage off these improvements with new innovations across online, omni-channel, and bricks and mortar stores.”
Zimmerman predicts 2016 will become “a year of business evolution for retail, with a host of digitally-based advancements enabling the merging of the online and offline shopping worlds into a more seamless experience.”
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