Personal tax cuts still required for retail

THE Australian Retailers Association (ARA) said March trade figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) represent an adequate Easter trade, with a 3.15 percent total growth year-on-year.

Russell Zimmerman, executive director of the ARA, said although March figures were in line with expected year-on-year retail growth, the ARA would like to see a much stronger growth for retailers already struggling in an uncertain market.

“Although March trade figures are slightly stronger than February’s retail trade, the growth relies highly on food retailing,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“We’ve seen the majority of retail categories take a step back in year-on-year growth across the industry.”

Food Retailing grew by 4.17 percent year-on-year which was boosted by Specialised Food (9.84%), Liquor (7.26%) and Supermarkets (3.37%).

“With Easter trade being early, we would have hoped to see strong growth in Department Stores and Clothing, Footwear and Personal accessories,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“However, instead we have lost ground in these categories at a time when they should be thriving.”

Across the country, Victoria (5.48%) and South Australia (4.13%) showed the strongest year-on-year growth of all the states, while the Australian Capital Territory (3.04%), Tasmania (3%), New South Wales (2.84%) and Queensland (2.47%) remained steady.

The Northern Territory (1.79%) has improved month-on-month but showed weak year-on-year growth. Unfortunately, Western Australia (-0.50%) still lags behind the rest of the country with negative figures yet again.

“It was pleasing to see Online Retail remain steady in March, however our major concern is in Newspapers and Books who have fallen -12.74 percent, showing negative figures for three months in a row,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“We are hoping to see localised growth across most retail categories come July, with the commencement of GST collection for overseas goods.”

The ARA are hoping tonight’s Budget focuses on personal and company tax cuts to ensure retailers across the country can invest in their businesses and grow employment in the sector.

“We also believe personal tax cuts will be key for the future of retail, as personal income tax cuts will enable consumers to feel confident about their spending and ensure the longevity of Australian retail.”

Monthly Retail Growth (February 2018 - March 2018 seasonally adjusted) 

Food retailing (0.70%), Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (-0.19%) Household goods retailing (-0.26%), Department stores (-0.52%), Other retailing (-0.56%) and Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (-0.81%).

Australian Capital Territory (1.52%), Victoria (0.23%), South Australia (0.19%), Northern Territory (0.08%), Western Australia (-0.07%), New South Wales (-0.14%), Queensland (-0.23%) and Tasmania (-0.29%).

Total sales (0.00%).

Year-on-Year Retail Growth (March 2017 - March 2018 seasonally adjusted)

Food retailing (4.17%), Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (3.90%), Household goods retailing (2.96%), Cafés, restaurants and takeaway food services (2.84%), Other retailing (1.55%) and Department stores (0.38%).

Victoria (5.48%), South Australia (4.13%), Australian Capital Territory (3.04%), Tasmania (3.00%), New South Wales (2.84%), Queensland (2.47%), Northern Territory (1.79%) and Western Australia (-0.50%),

Total sales (3.15%). 

About the Australian Retailers Association: 

Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is Australia’s largest retail association, representing the country’s $310 billion sector, which employs more than 1.2 million people. As Australia’s leading retail peak industry body, the ARA is a strong pro-active advocate for Australian retail and works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 7,500 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit or call 1300 368 041.


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