Early retail figures hint at strong Xmas season

Recent Retail Trade Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that sales for the month of November were up 1.4 per cent on a month-by-month basis and up 7.3 per cent year-on-year.

According to Russel Zimmerman, executive director at the Australian Retailers Association, this is the first official sign of a strong Christmas.

“ARA projections record Christmas turnover from sales in the last two weeks of November through to Christmas Eve. Most shoppers leave their Christmas shopping to the last week before Christmas, so to see such strong growth early on in the season is a good sign for retailers,” he said.

The figures highlight that clothing, footwear and accessories had the strongest growth with 2.5 per cent, followed by household goods at 1.7 per cent, food and grocery retailing at 1.6 per cent and department stores with a 1.1 per cent increase.

We won’t know until next month exactly how the month of December performed but Zimmerman had some insight on what retailers thought.

“Retailers have reported softer trade during the first few weeks in December and then surges in consumer spend the week before Christmas and during the first week of post-Christmas sales,” he said.

“In the week before Christmas, 62 percent of retailers reported trading to be the same or better when compared to the same time in 2008 and this growth has followed through to the first week of post-Christmas sales.”

“When December trade figures are released next month we’ll have a clear picture of how retailers have fared for Christmas from 2009 but so far it’s looking like a merry one.”

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