Retail chief available to comment on trade figures and interest rates
The surprise interest rate cut in February has had a positive impact on retail trade, with the Australian Bureau of Statistics today reporting growth of 0.7 per cent for the month, in seasonally adjusted terms.
NRA Chief Executive Trevor Evans said the results were unexpectedly strong, particularly given the fact that February is a shorter month than others.
“This continues the run of steady growth for retail which is very pleasing to see, particularly given that other sectors such as mining and resources are struggling,” Mr Evans said.
“While some other sectors are shedding jobs at the moment, retail continues to be one of the best placed industries to pick up the slack.”
Mr Evans said the figures showed shoppers and businesses were starting to feel the benefits of the RBA’s decision to cut cash rates in early February.
“However, while rate cuts are welcome, we are also aware that they can be a double-edged sword.
“More money in shoppers’ pockets is always good news, but if rates cuts are viewed as a sign of the economy beginning to falter, that can have a negative impact on purchasing decisions.”
The ABS reported that household goods was the strongest retail category in seasonally adjusted terms, with growth of 1.8 per cent for the month. Food retailing rose 1.2 per cent.
There were falls in department stores (-3.2 per cent), cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (-0.4 per cent) and clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (-0.2 per cent).
All states and territories recorded positive results, with New South Wales continuing to be the strongest contributor.
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.
National Retail Association CEO Trevor Evans is available for interviews. Contact the NRA media unit on 07 3240 0152