FEBRUARY RETAIL TRADE FIGURES PROVE DISAPPOINTING

Monday 3 April, 2017: The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) said the retail trade figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) represent a lower than expected growth for the industry with 2.68% total growth year-on-year.

Although the February retail figures are lower than expected ARA Executive Director, Russell Zimmerman said this moderate growth is disappointing for a number of areas within the retail sector.

“We are starting to see discretionary spend impacted in these figures with the exception of cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services,” Mr Zimmerman said.

Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing saw a disappointing increase of 0.85% year-on-year, a distinct drop from last month’s increase of 5.18% year-on-year given the hot weather throughout the Eastern seaboard.

A consolation to these modest figures is the slow but steady improvement in supermarkets with a 3.78% increase year-on-year as consumers allocate more of their spending on essential food items.

February trade figures remain steady across the board with all states showing a steady growth. New South Wales (3.28%) and South Australia (3.94%) lead the pack with stable year-on-year growth. While Victoria (2.62%), Queensland (2.79%), Tasmania (2.73%), Australian Capital Territory (2.34%), Northern Territory (1.15%) and Western Australia (0.38%) also show a moderate growth for February sales.

“Although we are experiencing a cooling off period in retail sales, we are confident that the reduction in the company tax rate for businesses with an annual turnover of less than $50 million will benefit hundreds of thousands small and medium-sized businesses, their employees and the broader Australian community,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“The only way to broadly grow the economy is to deliver further tax cuts to all sized businesses to grow jobs, bring inbound investment and keep Australian businesses investing in Australia”.

MONTHLY RETAIL GROWTH (January 2017– February 2017 seasonally adjusted)

Food retailing (0.3%), Household goods retailing (-0.4%), Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (-2.5%), Department stores (0.8%), Other retailing (0.0%) and Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (0.0%). Total sales (0.1%).

New South Wales (0.4%), Victoria (-0.3%), Queensland (-0.2%), South Australia (0.1%), Western Australia (-0.7%), Tasmania (-0.5%), Northern Territory (0.4%) and Australian Capital Territory (-0.5%).

YEAR-ON-YEAR RETAIL GROWTH (February 2016 – February 2017 seasonally adjusted)

New South Wales (3.28%), Victoria (2.62%), Queensland (2.79%), South Australia (3.94%), Western Australia (0.38%), Tasmania (2.73%), Northern Territory (1.15%) and Australian Capital Territory (2.34%).

Food retailing (3.69%), Household goods retailing (1.12%), Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (0.85%), Department stores (-2.96%), Other retailing (2.21%) and Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (5.90%). Total sales (2.68%).

-ends-

For interview opportunities with ARA Spokesperson call the ARA Media Line on 0439 612 556, or emailmedia@retail.org.au

About the Australian Retailers Association:

Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is the retail industry’s peak representative body representing Australia’s $310 billion sector, which employs more than 1.2 million people. The ARA 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 www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.

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