The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) retail trade figures released today suggest the Australian retail sector is continuing to show signs of positive long-term growth, with retail turnover rising by 0.4 per cent in March.
NRA Industry Research & Data Analyst Cameron Meiklejohn said the growth rate has come in at 3.7 per cent, a continuation of what the industry recorded in January and February.
“We have seen below-average growth in March, which suggests that there continues to be some level of caution in consumer spending,” Mr Meiklejohn said.
“At a national level, there is still strong growth in some categories with clothing and fashion (7.9%) and hardware, building and garden supplies (6.2%) both performing well.
“The high volume of sales in established residential properties across the eastern states, and Sydney and Melbourne in particular, has been a particular factor in the recent performance of the hardware category, although this category has started to contract.”
The ABS found that there were rises in food retailing (0.6 per cent), clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (1.1 per cent), other retailing (0.4 per cent) and household goods retailing (0.1 per cent). Turnover in cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services was relatively unchanged (0.0 per cent). Department stores fell (-0.5 per cent).
In seasonally adjusted terms, there were rises in Victoria (0.5 per cent), New South Wales (0.4 per cent), Western Australia (0.7 per cent), Queensland (0.2 per cent), South Australia (0.2 per cent) and Tasmania (0.6 per cent). There were falls in the Australian Capital Territory (-0.6 per cent) and the Northern Territory (-0.2 per cent).
Mr Meiklejohn said the ABS statistics revealed a clear difference between New South Wales and Victoria, and the rest of Australia.
“While the national average growth rate is 3.7 per cent, we’re seeing that sales in NSW and Victoria are growing at a far greater rate, with growth of 5 and 4.7 per cent respectively,” Mr Meiklejohn said.
“The National Retail Association is still anticipating annual sales growth of 4.4 per cent in 2015/16, and as a result we are expecting to see an improvement in turnover across the final quarter of this financial year.”
Cameron Meiklejohn is available for media interviews.
Please call the National Retail Association’s media unit on 07 3221 9222 or 0467 792 013.