October trade figures prove retail spending increasing in time for Christmas

Media Release Trade figures

Thursday 6 December 2018: The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) said October trade figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), represent a strong lead-up to the Christmas trading period with a 3.56% total year-on-year increase.

Russell Zimmerman, Executive Director of the ARA, said October’s results should increase confidence, and predicted retailers can expect to see a busy Christmas.

“As we lead into Christmas, October is the third consecutive month with year-on-year growth toping 3.5%,” Mr. Zimmerman said.

“Retailers across the country can expect to see an uptick in sales, with consumers rushing through stores to finalise their purchases and set their tables in preparation for Christmas.”

The Other retailing category saw the strongest year-on-year growth at 5.50%, with consumers turning to online platforms to purchase gifts for the big day.

“We have noticed consumers are increasing their basket size online to prepare for the rush that occurs in the lead up to the festive season.”

The ARA said in October, the Clothing, footwear and personal accessories category saw a strong result, with 4.84% year-on-year growth, as the summer season begun to spread in consumers’ minds across Australia.

“With the warm weather ramping up, we have noticed a considerable increase in the apparel category with shoppers purchasing fashion and accessories to wear for the warmer months ahead,” Mr Zimmerman said.

Household Goods also noted an impressive growth (3.22%), with the Furniture category recording a considerable year-on-year result (4.10%), as more consumers began refurbishing their homes and purchasing outdoor furniture.

“With December becoming increasingly warmer, Aussies will be looking to re-decorate their homes and purchase outdoor furniture to celebrate the upcoming festivities and enjoy the warmer weather outdoors.”

The ARA saw conservative figures for Food retailing (3.90%), Specialised food (4.55%), Supermarkets (4.01%), and Electrical goods (3.20%), with Pharmacy, Cosmetics and Toiletries recording remarkable growth (2.58%).

“Although the Food category noticed stagnated growth throughout the October trading period, we can expect this category to see a resurgence in growth, with the festive season being the opportune time to consumers to purchase from food specialty retailers,” Mr Zimmerman said.

Across the country Victoria (6.39%) led the nation for the fifth consecutive month in a row, with Tasmania (5.71%), the Australian Capital Territory (4.70%) Queensland (4.11%), South Australia (2.42%), Western Australia (0.63%) and New South Wales (2.14%) indicating a substantial growth. Unfortunately, the Northern Territory (-0.31%) recorded negative figures for the third consecutive month in a row.

“As the festive season is about giving and sharing with loved ones, our members and retailers can be rest-assured that the retail industry is going to be prosperous and filled with customers across shop floors this Christmas.”

Monthly Retail Growth (September 2018 – October 2018 seasonally adjusted)
Other retailing (8.48%), Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (4.84%), Food retailing (0.18%), Household goods retailing (0.61%), Department stores (0.41%) and Cafés, restaurants and takeaway food services (-0.91%)

Queensland (1.11%), the Australian Capital Territory (1.07%), Victoria (0.63%), Western Australia (0.62%), the Northern Territory (0.62%) South Australia (0.13%),Tasmania (0.11%), and New South Wales (-0.45%)

Total sales (0.34%).

Year-on-Year Retail Growth (October 2017 – October 2018 seasonally adjusted)
Other retailing (5.50%), Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (4.84%), Food retailing (3.90%), Household goods retailing (3.22%) Cafés, restaurants and takeaway food services (2.07%), and Department stores (-0.33%).

Victoria (6.39%),Tasmania (5.71%), the Australian Capital Territory (4.70%) Queensland (4.11%), South Australia (2.42%), Western Australia (0.63%), New South Wales (2.14%), and the Northern  Territory (-0.31%).

Total sales (3.56%).


For interview opportunities with ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman call the ARA Media Team on 0439 612 556 or email media@retail.org.au 

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 www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.

We're here to help
  • Email Get in touch
  • Phone 1300 368 041
  • Get support Become a member
Industry News