The Australian retail sector is poised to smash through the $300 billion dollar mark for the first time this financial year, according to new research released today by Australia’s largest and most diverse retail industry association, the National Retail Association (NRA).
The NRA has today launched the figures as part of its new quarterly industry index Retail Connect, in a sign of the growing importance of the retail sector to the national economy.
NRA Chief Executive Officer Trevor Evans said all indications were that the industry was continuing to experience the solid growth enjoyed in 2014/15, particularly after one of the busiest Christmas and Boxing Day trading periods in recent years – a period in which the number of people employed in the retail sector reached a record high.
“There’s every reason to believe that – barring sudden external shocks to the Australian economy, that retail should become a $300 billion industry this financial year,” Mr Evans said.
The first issue of Retail Connect has shown that, based on a modest 4.6 per cent growth projection, the industry will generate sales of $299.2 billion dollars in 2015/16. If the 4.8 per cent growth achieved last year is repeated, sales will smash through the $300 billion barrier for the first time.
“Since July last year the sector has benefitted from rising employment, home prices and consumer confidence – all of which have driven sales leading into the summer holiday period.
“This Retail Connect report also shows that the number of individuals employed in the sector reached 1.312 million in December – a record high. The demand for labour is expected to continue growing throughout 2016, with job vacancies on track to reach a record high by June.
“All of this underlines the growing significance of the retail sector as a driver of growth and employment in the Australian economy.
“As tens of thousands of school-leavers begin their career pathways this month by combining new tertiary education positions with part-time retail jobs, or as others begin new and exciting full-time positions, it’s fitting that we reflect on the importance of the retail sector to our nation’s prosperity, and to the future careers of so many young Australians.”
The NRA will continue to produce our Retail Connect report each quarter, in order to create a time series snapshot of the performance of the sector.
The NRA is Australia’s largest and most diverse retail industry organisation, and has been representing the interests of the retail, fast food and broader service sector for almost 100 years.
For a copy of the Retail Connect report, or to arrange an interview with Trevor Evans, call the NRA’s media unit on 07 3221 9223 or 0467 792 013.