The ARA believe September trade maintains a strong preview for Christmas

Media Release Trade figures

Friday 2 November 2018: The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) believe September trade figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) represent a strong lead into Christmas with September seeing a 3.67% total year-on-year increase.

Russell Zimmerman, Executive Director of the ARA, said although September trade figures are slightly weaker than August trade, the 3.67% year-on-year growth is still a positive figure for the Australian retail industry.

“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,” Russell Zimmerman 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.”

Cafés, restaurants and takeaway services saw the strongest year-on-year growth at 4.75% as Australians saw the footy season come to an end.

“As fashion is usually seasonally driven, we saw the Clothing, footwear and personal accessories category slow down, receiving a 2.89% year-on-year growth, compared to the 4.05% year-on-year growth received in August,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“While this is slightly lower than the previous three months, clothing remains strong and the ARA are hopeful of seeing an uptick in apparel and accessories retailing in the lead-up to summer.”

The ARA saw strong results for Other retailing (4.68%), Specialised food (6.29%), Supermarkets (4.16%), and Electrical goods (3.34%), but saw Department stores (-0.40%) drop off for the first time since April.

“Unfortunately, Other recreational goods remain in negative territory receiving -3.59% year-on-year growth, while Newspapers and books received -5.35% year-on-year growth – it’s 15th negative figure in a row,” Mr Zimmerman said.

Across the country Victoria (6.73%), led the nation in September trade, with Tasmania (6.13%), the Australian Capital Territory (4.12%), South Australia (3.72%) and New South Wales (3.10%) were not far behind. Queensland (2.44%) remained steady in August, while Western Australia (0.29%) recorded growth for the first time since April. Unfortunately, the Northern Territory (-0.19%) received negative figures for the first time since February.

“We’re hoping the Government pays attention to the fluctuating nature of retail and brings a second round of personal cuts to consumers before the election next year,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“We’re heading into Christmas and I know our members and retailers across the country would like to see more consumers out on their shopfloor, and increasing their basket size online this festive season.”

Monthly Retail Growth (August 2018 – September 2018 seasonally adjusted) 

Cafés, restaurants and takeaway food services (0.54 %) Food retailing (0.43%), Other retailing (0.05%), Household goods retailing (-0.02%), and Department stores (-0.02%) Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (-1.18%),

Tasmania (0.75%), Victoria (0.72%), Queensland (0.40%), South Australia (0.34%), Western Australia (0.04%), the Australian Capital Territory (0.02%), New South Wales (-0.42%) and the Northern Territory (-0.92%).

Total sales (0.16%).

Year-on-Year Retail Growth (September 2017 – September 2018 seasonally adjusted)

Cafés, restaurants and takeaway food services (4.75%), Other retailing (4.68%), Food retailing (4.07%), Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (2.89%), Household goods retailing (2.78%) and Department stores (-0.40%).

Victoria (6.73%), Tasmania (6.13%), the Australian Capital Territory (4.12%), South Australia (3.72%), New South Wales (3.10%), Queensland (2.44%), and Western Australia (0.29%), the Northern Territory (-0.19%).

Total sales (3.67%).


For interview opportunities with ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman call the ARA Media Team on 0439 612 556 or email

About the Australian Retailers Association:

Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is Australia’s largest retail association, representing the country’s $310 billion sector, which employs more than 1.2 million people. As Australia’s leading retail peak industry body, the ARA is a strong pro-active advocate for Australian retail and works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 7,500 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit or call 1300 368 041.







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