Media Release Trade figures

The Executive Director of the Australian Retailers’ Association, Russell Zimmerman, said that whilst February trade figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) indicated solid year-on-year growth of 3.17%, with most states and territories experiencing increases compared to this time last year, the persistent decline in the Northern Territory has continued.

“The latest retail trade figures, viewed overall, are pleasing, but they are likely to have been affected by a number of one-off and seasonal factors,” Mr Zimmerman said.

Mr Zimmerman said that figures showing strong growth in food and supermarket sales are likely to have been heavily influenced by the price impact of drought and flooding on food items.

“When you have droughts and floods – and in different parts of the country, we’ve recently had both – this makes some food items more expensive as supply contracts, and this has in all likelihood contributed to the rise in food trade,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“Conversely, the rise in clothing and footwear sales means we are probably seeing the beginning of spending on new season items ahead of winter starting to flow into trade data,” Mr Zimmerman said.

Mr Zimmerman added that this may have also contributed to the year-on-year improvement seen in department store spending.

Mr Zimmerman also noted that whilst spending on hardware and building goods has increased overall but was slightly down from the previous month, it suggested homeowners were continuing to undertake upgrades and renovations within their dwellings.

“While there are some fluctuations in today’s figures in discretionary spending categories – where turnover may have declined month-on-month but remains higher compared to this time last year – the bottom line in these numbers is that consumers continue to spend with confidence, which is great for businesses in the retail sector,” Mr Zimmerman concluded.

Across the country, Australian Capital Territory (5.35%), Victoria (4.21%) and Queensland (4.15%), Tasmania (2.92%), New South Wales (2.45%), Western Australia (2.02%) South Australia (1.89%), recorded growth, while the Northern Territory (-2.14%) posted negative figures in February.

“Victoria, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory experienced strong year-on-year growth in the February figures, and the rebound we saw last month in Western Australia has continued and gathered pace.

“However, the contraction in retail spending we’ve seen in the Northern Territory for six months now has continued once again, which remains highly concerning,” Mr Zimmerman said.

Monthly Retail Growth ( January 2019- February 2019 seasonally adjusted) 

Department stores (3.56%), Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (1.98%), Food retailing (0.09%), Other retailing (-0.05%), Household goods retailing (-1.28%) and Cafés, restaurants and takeaway food services (-0.05%).

Australian Capital Territory (1.69%), Queensland (1.45%),Northern Territory (1.42%),New South Wales (0.83%), Victoria (0.82%), South Australia (0.78%), Western Australia (-0.07%) and Tasmania (-0.95%).

Total sales (0.92%).

Year-on-Year Retail Growth (February 2019 – February 2019 seasonally adjusted)

Food retailing (4.88%), Other retailing (3.71%), Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (3.47%),Cafés, restaurants and takeaway food services (2.38%), Household goods retailing (-0.10%) and Department stores (-1.32%).

Australian Capital Territory (5.35%), Victoria (4.21%), Queensland (4.15%), Tasmania (2.92%), New South Wales (2.45%), Western Australia (2.02%) South Australia (1.89%), and Northern Territory (-2.14%).

Total sales (3.17%). 

ENDS…for interview opportunities with ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman, or for more information, please call Zoe Thompson on 0439 612 556 or email media@retail.org.au.

Wednesday 3 April 2019

About the Australian Retailers Association: Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is Australia’s largest retail association, representing the country’s $320 billion-dollar sector, which employs more than 1.3 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 7,800 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.



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