Moderate growth in retail sales anticipated

Australian retail sales continue to grow just below trend at a moderate 3.8 per cent for the March quarter of 2016, with easing to 3.3 per cent predicted for the June quarter, according to the latest AFGC CHEP Retail Index.

Within this broader trend, in the month of March 2016, year-on-year retail growth was also at 3.8 per cent with turnover of $24.98 billion. In May, in line with the quarterly result, growth is forecast to soften to 3.3 per cent with turnover of $25.02 billion.

“The good news is that despite the challenges Australian manufacturers face of staying competitive in a country with high costs, low margins and food-price deflation, the retail sector continues to grow year on year,” Australian Food & Grocery Council (AFGC) CEO Gary Dawson said.

“The stronger than average retail sales growth in 2014 and 2015, which was supported by interest-rate cuts and sharp falls in petrol prices, is now levelling to what might be considered normal.”

The index is a collaborative project between the AFGC and CHEP Australia, powered by Deloitte. It uses CHEP transactional data based on pallet movements and is a lead indicator of Australian Bureau of Statistics Retail Trade Data.

The next AFGC CHEP Retail Index will be released in late July 2016.

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