The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) trade figures reveal that retail turnover saw a slight rise towards the end of 2014, though it failed to reach the expected long-term average annual growth of 6 per cent.
Seasonally adjusted, retail turnover saw a rise of 0.2 per cent in December 2014, which followed a rise of 0.1 per cent in November 2014 and a rise of 0.4 per cent in October 2014. Year on year retail growth rose 4.1 per cent (seasonally adjusted, compared to December 2014).
“Despite the glacial pace, retail sales still continued to grow for the seventh consecutive month. This pattern of persistent retail sales growth, on the back of record low interest rates, is good for the economy,” Australian National Retailers’ Association (ANRA) CEO Anna McPhee said.
“Retailers welcome the decision taken by the RBA in lowering the cash rate earlier this week, it is now a wait and see whether more needs to be done to rebuild confidence before we see further improvements to activity in the retail sector and the recurring benefits this delivers to the economy more broadly.”
With a seasonally adjusted rise of 2.7 per cent, clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing was found to be the largest contributor to the overall rise. The ABS figures revealed food retailing to be the only other industry to see higher turnover in December, reporting a rise of 0.3 per cent. Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services and other retailing remained unchanged, while household goods retailing and department stores saw falls of -0.4 per cent and 0.9 per cent, respectively.
Australian Retailers Association (ARA) Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said, although the 4.1 per cent was still a great achievement for the industry, many retailers had a hard time during the holiday period.
“Unfortunately, department store results were down both month on month (-0.9 per cent) and year on year (-0.3 per cent) and the ARA received feedback from department store retailers across the country that trading was tough for them this Christmas,” Mr Zimmerman said.
“In seasonally adjusted terms the states which displayed rises were Queensland (0.6 per cent), New South Wales (0.2 per cent), Western Australia (0.5 per cent) and the Australian Capital Territory (0.4 per cent). Victoria was relatively unchanged (0.0 per cent) and there were falls in South Australia (-0.4 per cent), Tasmania (-1.3 per cent) and the Northern Territory (-0.1 per cent).”