Economic modelling by the National Retail Association (NRA) suggests the number of people employed in the retail sector in December ticked over the 1.3million mark for the first time in Australian history.
NRA CEO Trevor Evans said the data, collated this week, suggested as many as 13,000 new jobs had been created during December, bringing the total number of people working in retail in the lead up to Christmas, to $1.312m.
“These figures suggest retail has now become one of the strongest performing sectors nation-wide, as other industries like mining continue to contract.
“Coupled with the low Australian dollar and hefty postage fees, it’s also becoming far less appealing to shop from overseas retailers, as the overall cost can end up being markedly higher in the long run.
“While this number of jobs is likely to fall back below the 1.3 million mark in January, we do believe there will be exciting opportunities for retailers to build on this momentum through the first half of 2016.
“We’re seeing major changes in the way the retail industry operates in Australia, and these latest figures show that consumer confidence is strong,” he said.
Mr Evans said as online shopping continued to boom, Australian retailers exploring new and innovative ways to do business were on track for a successful year.
“Ecommerce is bringing a lifeblood of new opportunities for retailers, particularly along social media channels, and we’re seeing increasing numbers of retailers merge their services into one inclusive offering to ensure consistent, easy and satisfying experiences for customers,
“Where there used to be a discussion about bricks vs clicks, we’re seeing Australian retailers successfully merging the two, to create one seamless experience for shoppers.
“This in turn is creating a retail job market that is unlike any we’ve seen before, and will bring even greater opportunity for job-seekers through 2016,” he said.
Trevor Evans is available for interviews. Contact the NRA‘s media unit on (07) 3240 0163.
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 around 100 years.