Australia’s retail industry is continuing to show signs of positive long-term growth, despite recording no growth in February in today’s ABS data, the National Retail Association said today.
NRA Industry Research & Data Analyst Cameron Meiklejohn said while the seasonally adjusted ABS figures showed no change from January to February, the annualised growth rate had come in at 3.7 per cent.
The NRA’s analysis of the ABS figures showed substantial gains in the Clothing, Footwear and Personal Accessories category (6.2 per cent), Department Stores (4.5 per cent) and Household Goods (5.8 per cent) compared with 12 months earlier.
Within the household goods subgroup, the subclass of hardware continues to show sustained performance in trend terms, has returned to double-digit growth, rising 7.2 per cent in February compared with the previous year.
Growth in particular has been driven by both New South Wales and Victoria, which recorded growth rates of 4.8 per cent and 5.1 per cent respectively.
Mr Meiklejohn said while at first glance the February ABS results were flat, the year-on-year average growth results showed the retail sector was heading in the right direction.
“There’s no doubt retailers continue to face structural challenges, particularly around workplace relations and excessive penalty rates on Sundays and public holidays.
“However, the industry has been on a steady upward trajectory for almost three years now, and things are continuing to head in the right direction.
“We will now be looking to the Federal Budget for a strong and confident economic direction, which will give consumers the comfort they need to boost their discretionary spending.
“This will be the true test of how the retail sector is performing.”
Cameron Meiklejohn is available for media interviews.
Please call the NRA’s media unit on 0467 792 013.