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Spending grows in April

Retailers are calling on the Federal Government to cut interest rates further following the release of retail trade figures for April.

April 2013 turnover rose 3.1 per cent, seasonally adjusted, compared to April 2012, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The latest ABS figures also showed retail turnover rose 0.2 per cent in March 2013, seasonally adjusted, following a fall of 0.4 per cent in March 2013.  The monthly figure follows strong growth in spending in the first two months of 2013 and a slight fall in March.

Year on year, food retailing saw the biggest increase at 5.7 per cent; followed by cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services, 3.8 per cent; household goods retailing, 1.3 per cent; and other retailing, 0.9 per cent.

Retail sales fell in department stores fell compared to 2012, by 1.6 per cent; as well as in clothing, footwear and personal accessory, which reported a decline of 0.1 per cent.

Margy Osmond, CEO of the Australian National Retailers Association( ANRA), said despite the small rise in figures, another cut in interest rates by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) was needed.

“Another cut just might help aid this upward trend that retailers have been looking for,” she said.

The National Retail Association (NRA), meanwhile, said the trading figures showed consumer confidence was still low and called for the central bank to further reduce interest rates.

“The RBA might be tempted to wait for another month for the situation to improve after last month’s rate cut, (but) the latest data shows a desperate need for another cut now,” NRA CEO Trevor Evans said.

Australian Capital Territory saw the biggest increase in spending since April 2012, with a 5.3 per cent spike, followed by Western Australia, 4.5 per cent; Queensland, 4.3 per cent; New South Wales 3.8, per cent; Victoria, 2.3 per cent; and  Northern Territory, 0.6 per cent.

Retail spending fell in Tasmania by 2.7 per cent, as well as in South Australia, by 1.2 per cent.

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