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Budget boosts retail

shopping, Boxing DayThe 2015 Federal Budget gave the retail sector a timely boost, with sales heading into positive territory after the Treasurer delivered his speech last Tuesday night according to the Australian Retail Index (ARI).

BDO National Retail Lead Partner, Simon Scalzo, said the improvement was in stark contrast to last year’s budget where the ARI showed retail sales dipping the following week.

“There seems to be a sense of caution from shoppers in the week leading up to the budget,” Scalzo said.

“In both 2014 and 2015 sales dipped by between three and four per cent in the week before the budget was handed down.

“This year we’ve seen retail sales pick up again by a little over three per cent, basically returning it to its pre-budget position.

“While this may not seem like great news, it’s a much better result than last year when retail sales fell by a further seven per cent after the budget was delivered.”

Scalzo said this year’s improved figures were led by sporting goods and the “other general retail” category that includes computer and electrical equipment, telecommunications, and shopfittings.

“The general retail category recovered well after the budget, pushing up by almost 10 per cent.”

“However as with the general figures, it was really only regaining ground it lost the previous week.

“General retail includes computers and electronic equipment, so part of the improved figures post budget may be from businesses taking advantage of the new tax write offs.

“The figures we’re seeing this year would suggest shoppers are cautiously optimistic following the budget.

“It is also possible the figures will continue to improve in coming weeks as people have more time to digest what the budget means for them.”

The ARI provides week by week sales monitoring, across four key categories – fashion and accessories, furniture and homewares, sporting and recreational goods, and other general retail. It sources weekly card-based, cash sales and layby sales data.

The ARI is a partnership between accounting and advisory firm BDO and cloud-based software provider Retail Express.

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