Retailers applaud August trade figures

THE Australian Retailers Association (ARA) believes August trade figures released on October 5 by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) represent the quiet boost in consumer confidence, with August seeing a 3.77 percent total year-on-year increase.

Russell Zimmerman, Executive Director of the ARA, said August’s trade figures were driven by the launch of new season products and the confidence seen in the change in Prime Minister.

“We can see there was a slight uptick in consumer confidence around August with cafés, restaurants and takeaway food services showing the strongest year-on-year growth at 5 percent,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“Clothing, footwear and personal accessories also saw a strong 4 percent year-on-year growth this August as some confidence returned to consumers after receiving their tax refunds.”

The ARA believes these strong mid-year figures are also a consequence from the psychological effect of the personal tax cuts coming into play from July this year.

“This quiet consumer confidence can be seen across various retail categories with consumers rewarding themselves with little luxuries across the market,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“Department stores saw solid growth in August with this retail category reaching 2 percent year-on-year growth - the biggest increase they’ve seen since May this year.”

Tasmania (6.20%) led the country in August trade, with Victoria (5.93%), South Australia (4.70%), New South Wales (4.28%) and the Australian Capital Territory (4.20%) not far behind. Queensland (2.39%) remained steady in August, whereas the Northern Territory (0.04%) received minimal growth and Western Australia (-0.99%) unfortunately remained in negative territory for the fourth month in a row.

“This quiet growth is somewhat comforting for all retailers across Australia, especially leading up to Christmas,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“We hope this boost in consumer confidence and discretionary spend flows through to the end of year where retailers are hoping to see their biggest trade yet.”

Monthly Retail Growth (July 2018 - August 2018 seasonally adjusted) 

Department stores (0.87%), Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (0.79%), Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (0.70%), Other retailing (0.37%), Household goods retailing (0.20%) and Food retailing (-0.02%).

South Australia (0.78%), Tasmania (0.61%), New South Wales (0.52%), Victoria (0.23%), Australian Capital Territory (0.18%), Queensland (0.07%), Western Australia (-0.03%), and Northern Territory (-1.32%).

Total sales (0.29%).

Year-on-Year Retail Growth (August 2017 – August 2018 seasonally adjusted)

Cafés, restaurants and takeaway food services (5.01%), Food retailing (4.34%), Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (4.05%), Other retailing (3.43%), Household goods retailing (2.16%) and Department stores (2.04%).

Tasmania (6.20%), Victoria (5.93%), South Australia (4.70%), New South Wales (4.28%), Australian Capital Territory (4.20%), Queensland (2.39%), Northern Territory (0.04%) and Western Australia (-0.99%),

Total sales (3.77%).

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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