Strong sales growth in fashion and footwear, electrical goods and hardware, building and garden supplies was behind the positive retail sales results in March, according to today’s Australian Bureau of Statistics monthly figures.
National Retail Association CEO Trevor Evans said the results were an endorsement of the Reserve Bank’s decision to cut the cash rate in February.
“Some of the additional money in people’s pockets from that decision has flowed into the economy, and it is helping to continue the modest but steady growth we have seen in retail over the last 18 months,” Mr Evans said.
“We hope that this trend will continue with this week’s rate cut, and that these positive figures will give both consumers and businesses much-needed confidence in the future.”
The ABS reported that retail turnover rose 0.3 per cent in March following a rise of 0.7 per cent in February 2015, seasonally adjusted.
There were rises in Queensland (0.7 per cent), New South Wales (0.3 per cent), Victoria (0.2 per cent), South Australia (0.3 per cent) and Tasmania (0.5 per cent). There were falls in Western Australia (-0.3 per cent), the Australian Capital Territory (-0.5%) and the Northern Territory (-0.8 per cent).
The strong results in footwear and personal accessories continues a recent trend which is likely to continue with jewellery sales heading into Mother’s Day. Pleasing results were also reported for department stores, following a period of weaker performance. Online retail turnover contributed 3.0 per cent to total retail turnover in original terms, however this was only for on-line businesses based in Australia.
“We still have the problem of the unfair GST loophole that favours foreign businesses and encourages Australians to spend their money overseas,” Mr Evans said.
“While the retail sector has experienced a steady growth since mid-2013, this growth and the benefits for local businesses and jobs could be much stronger if Australian on-line businesses were able to compete on an even field.”
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.
Contact: The NRA media unit 07 3240 0152