Written on the 7 September 2010


QUEENSLAND retail growth improved by 1.5 per cent over the month from June to July, but it’s not good enough to indicate that consumer habits are bouncing back, according to the Australian Retailers Association (ARA).

Across all states the figure was 0.7 per cent given negative growth in WA, the ACT and Tasmania. The sunshine state recorded second highest growth behind Victoria at 1.7 per cent.

The ABS July retail trade figures show that while retail trade is encouraging it’s not enough to suggest that retailers are out of the woods.

ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman, says retailers faced their first month of increased wage bills in July and would want to see a few more months of some significant growth across all categories before they felt confident about business conditions.

“The first phase of the new retail award began on July 1, 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 per cent,” he says.

“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 per cent from the same time in 2009 but this is also propped up by cafés, restaurants and takeaways up 15.2 per cent from last year.

“Figures released yesterday in the ARA Consumer Spending Confidence Survey show 75 per cent 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.

YEAR-ON-YEAR RETAIL GROWTH (July 2009 – July 2010)

Clothing, Footwear & Personal Accessory Retailing (2.2%), Department Stores (0.2%) Cafes, Restaurants & Takeaways (15.2%), Other Retailing (2.8.0%), Food Retailing (3.7%) and Household Goods Retailing (0.5%).

MONTHLY RETAIL GROWTH (June 2010 – July 2010)

Victoria (1.7%), Queensland (1.5%) and New South Wales (0.6%) recorded the largest seasonally adjusted increases in July, followed by South Australia (0.3%) and the Northern Territory (0.2%). Sales in Western Australia (-1.8%), the Australian Capital Territory (-0.7%) and Tasmania (-0.3%) decreased in July.






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