PEAK retail industry body the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) said the seasonally adjusted rise (0.1 percent increase) in monthly retail trade figures (month-on-month) reported today by the ABS followed a 0.2 percent rise in February 2014.
Year on year retail growth also rose 5.6 percent in March 2014, seasonally adjusted, compared to March 2013 - a hopeful sign that the retail industry may be on the long road to recovery.
ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said March trade results could have been better, but the 0.1 percent increase was somewhat expected after such a strong period of trading throughout January and February.
“Australians love a good coffee and dining out with friends and family, and consumers certainly made the most of the final summer days in March with cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services experiencing steady growth at 1.1% and food retailing at 0.5%.
“Department stores experienced stagnant sales (-0.1%) and clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing also dropped (-0.3 per cent). We can put this down to the warm March weather, with consumers holding off on purchasing their winter wardrobes and enjoying the sunshine instead. Given the cool change experienced late April, we are hoping to see an upswing in retail spend in April trade figures.
“Turnover rose in New South Wales (0.8%), Queensland (0.2%), Tasmania (0.8%) and the Northern Territory (0.1%). These rises were partially offset by falls in Western Australia (-0.9%), South Australia (-0.8%), Victoria (-0.2%) and the Australian Capital Territory (-0.8%).
“Although retail trade started off strong this year, unfortunately the SME sector is still struggling. Retailers are counting on interest rates remaining low to be able to cope.
“The ARA urges the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) to cut interest rates next month given imminent Federal Budget cuts. The RBA’s decision this week to keep the cash rate on hold has concerned retailers and consumers alike, who are nervous about the Federal Budget announcement next Tuesday. We are aware that the Federal Budget announcement will likely result in budget cuts, affecting both retailers and consumers,” Mr Zimmerman said.
MONTHLY RETAIL GROWTH (February 2014 – March 2014 seasonally adjusted)
Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (1.1%), Food retailing (0.5%), Department stores (-0.1%) Household goods retailing (-0.3%), Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (-0.3%) and Other retailing (-1.1%). Total sales (0.1%).
Tasmania (0.8), New South Wales (0.8%), Queensland (0.2%), Northern Territory (0.1%), Victoria (-0.2%), South Australia (-0.8%), and Australian Capital Territory (-0.8%) Western Australia (-0.9%) and Total sales (0.1%).
YEAR-ON-YEAR RETAIL GROWTH (March 2013 – March 2014 seasonally adjusted)
Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (11.9%), Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (9.3%), Household goods retailing (6.4%), Food retailing (4.7%), Other retailing (4.3%) and Department stores (-3.4%). Total sales (5.6%).
New South Wales (13.6%), Tasmania (8.4%), Victoria (6.1%), Northern Territory (5.5%), Queensland (4.9%), South Australia (3.0%), Western Australia (0.5%) and Australian Capital Territory (-0.3%).Total sales (5.6%).
Since 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has been the peak industry body representing Australia’s $265 billion retail sector, which employs over 1.2 million people. The ARA ensures retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 5,000 independent and national retail members throughout Australia.
Visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.
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