Retail turnover up 0.3 per cent

A rise of 0.3 per cent in retail turnover in January 2016 followed a relatively unchanged December 2015, seasonally adjusted, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures.

In seasonally adjusted terms there were rises in other retailing (1.4 per cent), household goods retailing (one per cent), cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (one per cent) and clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (0.1 per cent). Food retailing and department stores both fell in January 2016 (down 0.2 per cent and 0.3 per cent, respectively).

Online retail turnover contributed 2.9 per cent to total retail turnover in original terms.

“While this is a great start to the new year, what we really would like to see is sustained, incremental rises in retail sales,” said ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman, commenting on the figures.

“Retailers are now coming off the strongest trading period of the year, being December and January, and maintaining the momentum of Christmas and post-Christmas is vital.”

Retail Council CEO Anna McPhee said January’s result was a good sign for retail activity to continue to build momentum and contribute to growth in the year ahead.

“Many categories are growing at a faster annual pace than at the same time last year, which is a positive indicator that the sector is on a path to build on 2015’s performance,” she said.

“With low petrol prices and interest rates remaining at record lows, there is an opportunity for retailers who focus on their customer.

“With the federal budget to be handed down in May, the retail sector calls on the Government to demonstrate that it is continuing on the path to fiscal sustainability and clearly articulate a plan to deliver structural budget reform.

“Importantly, it needs to do this without disrupting household confidence or slowing the momentum of growing retail activity.”

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