Rise in retail turnover is encouraging

The latest seasonally adjusted Retail Trade Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics have revealed some encouraging signs for Australia’s retail sector, which saw a turnover rise of 0.4 per cent during the month of January.

The January rise follows a 0.2 per cent climb in December, culminating in the fastest retail turnover rise in three months and the eighth consecutive month to experience a rise in retail spending.

Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services were found to be the largest contributors to the rise, climbing 2.0 per cent during January. Department stores (2.2. per cent), other retailing (1.0 per cent) and household goods retailing (0.7 per cent) were also up.

Small Business Minister Bruce Billson called the latest Retail Trade results “encouraging news” for the 127,000 small businesses operating in the retail sector.

“Total retail spending was $23.88 billion in January, up from $23.79 billion in December. In trend terms, Australian turnover rose 3.1 per cent in January 2015 compared with January 2014.”

Food retailing (0.7 per cent) and clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (0.1 per cent) saw slight drops in turnover.

Tasmania saw the biggest rise in seasonally adjusted state turnovers, registering a rise of 1.9 per cent. Queensland (1.2 per cent), Victoria (0.5 per cent), and Western Australian (0.1 per cent) followed behind. New South Wales (0.0 per cent) remained unchanged, while the ACT (1.9 per cent), the Northern Territory (-1.8 per cent) and South Australia (-0.1 per cent) experienced drops.

“Holiday activity and sale promotions on the back of low interest rates and low petrol prices delivered a boost to retail sales in January particularly for cafes and restaurants and department stores,” Australian National Retailers’ Association (ANRA) CEO Anna McPhee said.

“Today’s result is the eighth consecutive monthly rise in retail spending and retailers will feel buoyed by the positive start to 2015. Time will tell if more needs to be done to stimulate further improvements in retail activity and the recurring benefits this delivers to the economy more broadly.”

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