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Retail sees slight bump in lead-up to Christmas

Retail turnover rose 0.2 per cent in September 2018, following a 0.3 per cent increase in August, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Online retail sales growth was unchanged from August, contributing 5.6 per cent to total retail turnover in September, ahead of the 4.4 per cent posted a year earlier.

Victoria and Tasmania saw a 0.7 per cent rise in turnover, while Queensland and South Australia saw a 0.4 per cent increase and the ACT remained flat. New South Wales and the North Territory saw sales decline by 0.4 and 1 per cent respectively.

Australian Retailers Association executive director Russell Zimmerman said that the September trade figures are not as positive as he would like, but the numbers look more favourable when considered in a year-on-year basis.

Cafes, restaurants and takeaway services saw the largest year-on-year growth at 4.75 per cent as the football season came to an end, while specialised food saw an increase of 6.29 per cent.

“As fashion is usually seasonally driven, we saw the clothing, footwear and personal accessories category slow down, receiving a 2.89 per cent year-on-year growth, compared to the 4.05 per cent growth received in August,” Zimmerman said.

“While this is slightly lower than the previous three months, clothing remains strong and the ARA are hopeful of seeing an uptick in apparel and accessories retailing in the lead-up to summer.”

Other retailing (4.68 per cent), supermarkets (4.16 per cent) and electrical goods (3.34 per cent) saw strong growth, while department stores (-0.4 per cent) saw negative growth for the first time since April.

Zimmerman said that the ARA hopes the Australian Government is taking note of the fluctuating nature of retail trade and is considering a second round of personal tax cuts.

“The ARA know personal tax cuts play a big role in discretionary spend, and believe a second round of personal tax cuts before the next election would certainly boost consumer confidence, and see an increase in retail sales in the new year,” Zimmerman said.

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