WEDNESDAY 5TH OCTOBER: Retail spending saw a 2.84 percent growth (year-on-year) in August 2016, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), a hopeful uptick for growth as Christmas approaches.

The sector continues to experience deflationary pressure seen through aggressive competition, accounting for the low-to-negative growth in supermarket (2.71% year-on-year) and department store (-2.39% year-on-year) categories, respectively.

“With supermarkets accounting for nearly 50% of all retail sales, the soft increase in the category contributes significantly to the low overall growth of the retail sector” ARA Executive Director, Russell Zimmerman said.

With the Federal Election now out of the way, retailers are hopeful for continued growth in the Clothing, Footwear and Personal Accessories category (6.85% year-on-year).

Retailers are reporting increased sales as we move toward the spring/summer period, with a hopeful outlook that this will continue into Christmas trading.

Another notably strong area of retail growth is Takeaway Food Services (11.43% year-on-year), reflecting the formidable expansion of fast-food retailers across the country.

Tasmania (4.26% year-on-year), South Australia (4.62% year-on-year) and ACT (6.89% year-on-year) are leading the State-based categories.

“The figures reported today by the ABS also highlight a number of trends in regards to state specific retail trade and varying State economic performances,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“What the figures show is the need for continued growth-focused and flexibility-based economic outcomes. We need a real economic, tax and jobs reform package to drive the economy and retail growth.”

MONTHLY RETAIL GROWTH (July 2016 – August 2016 seasonally adjusted)

Household goods retailing (0.2%), Other retailing (-0.6%), Food retailing (0.3%), Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (-0.4%), Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (1.2%) and Department stores (3.5%).

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

YEAR-ON-YEAR RETAIL GROWTH (August 2015 – August 2016 seasonally adjusted)

Household goods retailing (1.64%), Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (5.92%), Food retailing (2.62%), Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (6.86%), Other retailing (2.12%) and Department stores (-2.39%).

New South Wales (3.31%), South Australia (4.62%), Tasmania (4.26%), Victoria (2.92%), Australian Capital Territory (6.89%), Western Australia (-0.46%), Queensland (3.00%) and Northern Territory (-0.86%).


Russell Zimmerman is available for interview today in Canberra. For interview opportunities with ARA Executive Director, Russell Zimmerman, call the ARA Media team on 0439 612 556 or

About the Australian Retailers Association:

Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is the retail industry’s peak representative body representing Australia’s $293 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 5,000 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit or call 1300 368 041.

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