Sales to stay solid, for now: expert analysis

By Keri Algar

SYDNEY, NSW: Retailers can expect more consistent sales growth in the months ahead but will be undermined by a decline in population growth, according to a report released by an Australian economic consulting firm.

The Access Economics data indicates retail sales will grow by a firm 3.2 per cent in 2010 to 2011, lifting to 3.7 per cent in 2011 and 2012 – propelled by the next housing construction peak.

Growth has so far been fuelled by a strong Australian dollar coupled with the recent interest rate rise hiatus and the economic experts reckon consumer caution will continue to fade.

However, the analysts warn that inhibiting Australia’s population growth will work against retailers in the short term and long term. spoke with Access Economics director David Rumbens.

 “A lot of the growth that we’ve seen recently has come from the fact that there’re more people. The population growth rate has been about two per cent in the last few years and it’s going to drop over the next decade to about 1.5 per cent,” said Rumbens.
“In the last five years more than half retail growth has been due to population growth.”

“It’s not always been so much, but prior to that these people have built up their debt or run down their savings as well, which has been a spurt for retail, and that’s likely to happen again going forward.”

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