CE retail trade figures below average

By Keri Algar

SYDNEY, NSW: Consumer spending remains uncomfortably soft in the lead up to Christmas, with electrical goods registering zero growth in September compared with an average 0.3 per cent sales increase for the retail industry at large.

Trades to exhibit positive growth included household goods with a 0.2 per cent rise and clothing, accessories and footwear, which trumped the other categories with a 2.5 per cent rise in sales.

The retail trade figures, released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics yesterday, suggest consumer confidence continues to struggle. Meanwhile, potential sales stimulation driven by Christmas could be hampered by the Reserved Bank of Australia's decision to lift the cash rate from 4.5 per cent to 4.75 per cent earlier this week.

In an attempt to combat the challenging conditions suppliers such as Sony and Panasonic have been announcing bonus entertainment packages valued at over $1000 for purchases of large ticketed items such as 3D TVs.

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