Retail turnover rises slightly

Raises hopes for Christmas.

Australian retail turnover rose 0.2 per cent in September 2018, seasonally adjusted, down slightly from the modest rise in August, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Retail Trade figures.  Online retail turnover contributed 5.6 per cent to total retail turnover in original terms, unchanged from August. In September 2017 online retail turnover contributed 4.4% to total retail.

Food retailing led the latest rises on 0.4%, Quarterly Economy Wide Surveys director, Ben James said.

“There was also a rise in cafés, restaurants and takeaways, up 0.5%.”  However, three industries were relatively unchanged, other retailing, department stores and household goods while clothing, footwear and personal accessories went down 1.2%.

In seasonally adjusted terms, there were increases in Victoria (0.7%), Queensland (0.4%), South Australia (0.4%), and Tasmania (0.7%). There were falls in New South Wales (-0.4%) and the Northern Territory (-1.0%), while Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory were unchanged.

The trend estimate for Australian retail turnover rose 0.2%, following a rise of 0.2% in August. Compared to September 2017, the trend estimate rose 3.5%.

Responding to the results, Australian Retailers Association executive director, Russell Zimmerman, said while September trade figures are slightly weaker than August trade, the 3.67% year-on-year growth is still an optimistic figure for the Australian retail.

“Although September’s month-on-month figure isn’t as positive as we would have liked, we need to understand the year-on-year retail growth figure represents a better overview of the current state of Australian retail it represents a strong lead into Christmas,” he said.

“The ARA know personal tax cuts play a big role in discretionary spend, and believe a second round of personal tax cuts before the next election would certainly boost consumer confidence, and see an increase in retail sales in the new year.”

The ARA saw strong results for other retailing (4.68%) including electrical goods (3.34%), but saw department stores drop off slightly for the first time since April.

Across the country Victoria (6.73%), led the nation in September trade, followed by Tasmania (6.13%), the Australian Capital Territory (4.12%), South Australia (3.72%) and New South Wales (3.10%).

Queensland (2.44%) remained steady in August, while Western Australia (0.29%) recorded growth for the first time since April, however, the Northern Territory (-0.19%) received negative figures for the first time since February.

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