Retail spending rises in August

Christmas ShoppingNational retail spending saw a 2.84 percent growth (year-on-year) in August 2016, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), in a hopeful uptick for growth as Christmas approaches.

Total retail spending rose to $25.1 billion in August, from the $25.01 billion in July, ABS data shows.

In seasonally adjusted terms, year on year, there were increases in household goods retailing, 1.64 per cent; cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services, 5.92 per cent; food retailing, 2.62 per cent; clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing, 6.86 per cent; other retailing, 2.12 per cent; and a 2.39 per cent decrease in department store sales.

The monthly retail turnover saw increases in household goods retailing, 0.2 per cent; food retailing, 0.3 per cent; department stores, 3.5 per cent; and cafes restaurants and takeaway food services, 1.2 per cent. There were decreases in personal accessory retailing, 0.4 per cent and other retailing, 0.6 per cent.

Russell Zimmerman, ARA executive director, said retailers are reporting increased sales moving toward the spring/summer period, with a hopeful outlook that this will continue into Christmas trading.

Zimmerman said with the Federal Election now out of the way, retailers are hopeful for continued growth in the clothing, footwear and personal accessories category (6.85 per cent year-on-year).

“With supermarkets accounting for nearly 50 per cent of all retail sales, the soft increase in the category contributes significantly to the low overall growth of the retail sector” said Zimmerman.

Zimmerman stated another notably strong area of retail growth is the takeaway food services, reflecting the formidable expansion of fast-food retailers across the country.

Tasmania (4.26 per cent year-on-year), South Australia (4.62 per cent year-on-year) and ACT (6.89 per cent year-on-year) are leading the State-based categories.

“The figures reported today by the ABS also highlight a number of trends in regards to state specific retail trade and varying State economic performances,” Zimmerman said.

“What the figures show is the need for continued growth-focused and flexibility-based economic outcomes. We need a real economic, tax and jobs reform package to drive the economy and retail growth.”

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