Retail sales show solid performance

The ABS retail sales figures for July have shown an increase of 4.2 per cent, following growth of 4.9 per cent in June.

The increase boosted Australian retail sales turnover for July to $24.3 billion. However, month on month, retail sales fell 0.1 per cent in July compared with June.

Australian Retailers Association Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said the month-on-month decline fails to tell the whole story, with the figure reflective of annual mid-year sales activity that has typically all but wrapped up by July.

“Year-on-year figures provide the most accurate measure of the sector’s performance and are the most used figures by retail businesses in their own reporting,” he said.

“Annual retail sales growth has continued its solid upwards trajectory, a fantastic result for the Australian economy, which has been plagued by suggestions in the media of a possible downturn.”

Year-on-year retail growth by category (July 2014 to July 2015, seasonally adjusted)

Food (2.8 per cent), household goods (8.5 per cent), clothing, footwear and personal accessories (8.8 per cent), department stores (1.5 per cent), other retailing (2.5 per cent), and cafés, restaurants and takeaway food (four per cent).

By state and territory

NSW (5.3 per cent), Victoria (4.6 per cent), Queensland (3.2 per cent), SA (4.4 per cent), WA (2.9 per cent), Tasmania (2.3 per cent), NT (2.2 per cent) and the ACT (4.9 per cent).

According to the National Retail Association, the latest figures show the need for urgent economic reforms and to boost productivity, with CEO Trevor Evans saying that the figures show Australia is still growing, but not as strongly as it could be.

“This clearly points to the need for urgent reform across the economy – in taxation, in government spending, workplace relations and in productivity measures,” he said.

“We can no longer sit on our hands and just hope for a continuation of the strong economic performance that Australians have become used to in recent decades.

“On behalf of retailers – a major employment sector in the economy – we call on the federal and state governments to redouble their efforts to boost productivity and to create the conditions that will allow businesses to thrive and employment to flourish.

“Just as importantly, we urge the Federal Opposition and Senate crossbenchers to step out of the way of much-needed reforms to the federal budget, to workplace laws and to taxation measures.”

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