It is the seventh month in a row of more than four per cent growth, with July 2015 retail sales rising 4.2 per cent.
Month on month growth for August 2015 over July 2015 was 0.4 per cent. Total retail spending was $24.4 billion in August, up from $24.3 billion in July.
Russell Zimmerman, ARA executive director, said the rise was the result of the tail end of winter sales, evidenced by the significant increases in department store and household goods sales.
“The half yearly sales period has triggered a flurry of activity which has provided a nice boost to the retail industry,” Zimmerman said.
“Department stores, which have been experiencing yearly growth of around one to two per cent for the past 12 months, have seen a 6.9 per cent rise. This will be music to the department store chain’s ears, coming off the back of a long period of static growth.
“The household goods category has also been a beneficiary of the retail spending increases, recording the largest rise at 9.6 per cent.
Year on year, food increased 3.1 per cent as did household goods (9.6 per cent), clothing, footwear and personal accessories (6.5 per cent), department stores (6.9 per cent), other retailing (2.3 per cent), café restaurants (3.5 per cent), and takeaway foods (4.6 per cent).
On a yearly basis retail spending increased in NSW (6 per cent), Victoria (4.8 per cent), Queensland (3.7 per cent), South Australia (4.8 per cent), Western Australia (3.1 per cent), Tasmania (2.8 per cent), and Australian Capital Territory (4.8 per cent). In the Northern Territory spending declined 0.8 per cent.
“Clothing, footwear and personal accessories has now seen six consecutive months of above average growth, indicating this category is back on track following an earlier lag in sales,” said Zimmerman.
NRA CEO, Trevor Evans, said the August figures signal renewed consumer confidence across the retail industry after spending dropped 0.1 per cent in July, on a monthly basis.
“After disappointing figures in July saw sales drop for the first time in more than a year, it’s pleasing to see that consumer spending has picked up in August.
“These figures for August indicate that consumers are certainly feeling more confident and cashed up than they were at the start of the new financial year,” Evans said.
Evans said the industry should see these strong results continue.
“With the change of prime minister and treasurer sparking an increase in consumer confidence, we can expect to see similar results for the September trade figures,” Evans said.
“We urge prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and treasurer Scott Morrison to continue focus on economic management, and work toward boosting consumer confidence as we head into the Christmas period.”