The Australian Retailers Association said the ABS July Retail Trade figures released yesterday showing a 0.7 percent growth in July retail trade was “not good enough”.
ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said the increase in sales in July was not enough, with retailer facing their first month of increased wage bills in July, with business owners needing to see multiple months of sustained growth before being able to feel confident about business conditions and being in a position to think about taking on more staff and starting to execute long term growth plans.
“The first phase of the new retail award began on 1 July which meant retailers had more wage bills expenditure last month, so this moderate increase in trade would have been welcomed particularly from café, restaurants and take-away shop owners who have recorded the most significant growth at 5.3 percent.
“Eating out seems to be a small luxury consumers are happy to treat themselves. However, it’s not the same story across the board (Other retailing 1.4%, Food retailing 0.4%, and Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing 0.2%, Household goods retailing -1.7% and Department stores – 0.7%) and we’re still getting emails every day from retailers across the country saying this is one of the worst years of trade they can remember.
“When we look at year-on-year growth, July sales are up 4 percent from the same time in 2009 but this is also propped up by cafés, restaurants and takeaways up 15.2 percent from last year.
“Figures released yesterday in the ARA Consumer Spending Confidence Survey show 75% of consumers are planning on spending less, seeking out sales or cutting spending drastically in next 12 months. However, about half of the respondents aren’t planning on changing how much they spend on dining out.
“If business doesn’t start to improve across all retail categories, small retailers who are already struggling to manage increased wage bills will have to start letting go of staff. This is not the time for the RBA to look at increasing interest rates,” Zimmerman said.