Christmas turnover down 0.1 per cent

Australian retail turnover in December fell 0.1 per cent, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics Retail Trade figures.

This follows a rise of 0.1 per cent in November, 2016.

In seasonally adjusted terms, household goods fell by 2.3 per cent and other retailing by 0.2 per cent. These falls were offset by rises of 0.5 per cent in food retailing, 1.4 per cent in clothing, footwear and personal accessories, 0.3 per cent in cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services and 0.3 per cent in department stores.

The Australian Retailers Association says the figures illustrate a positive Christmas performance for retailers, with three per cent year-on-year growth, seasonally adjusted.

“This moderate growth in December sales is a positive sign for the industry and we remain hopeful that the ARA- and Roy Morgan-predicted pre-Christmas sales figure of $48.1 billion will be achieved once we finalise the numbers,” ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said.

Online retail turnover contributed 3.8 per cent to total turnover. It rose 0.9 per cent in the December quarter, with the biggest contributors being household goods at 2.5 per cent, clothing, footwear and personal accessories at 1.5 per cent and food at 0.3 per cent.

“With online retail making up seven per cent of all retail sales, its double-digit growth year on year is not surprising, as e-commerce retailing is a key contributor to the retail industry as a whole,” Mr Zimmerman said.

The National Retail Association says total retail sales in original terms for the Christmas trade period, which encompasses the second half of November and the month of December, show that Australians spent $46.58 billion in 2016 – an increase of almost $2 billion over the same period in 2015.

“This is the first time that retail has cracked an average spend of more than $1 billion a day for the Christmas trade period and it’s good news for the entire industry,” NRA CEO Dominique Lamb said.

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