Tuesday 5 December 2017: The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) said the October trade figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) represent a cold start for Christmas trade, with a 1.82% total year-on-year growth.

ARA Executive Director, Russell Zimmerman said, these figures are extremely disheartening this close to the biggest trading period of the year, and urges the Government to alleviate some of the significant cost pressures affecting small and large retailers today.

“With Christmas just around the corner, these trade figures illustrate just how hard it is for small businesses to compete with rising costs, coupled with the increase in global competition and the 24-hour market place,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“As household prices begin to ease off, these October figures have been mostly affected by the significant drop in Household Goods, with this retail category receiving a -1.95% in year-on-year growth.”

Other retail categories showing a considerable drop in year-on-year growth include Hardware & Building (-4.92%), Newspapers & Books (-4.08%) and Other Recreational Goods (-2.43%).

The ARA believe Amazon’s entrance into Australia today presents a fantastic opportunity for retailers to increase their sales through their online platform

“With over 300 million users already on the Amazon Marketplace, retailers will be able to optimise their sales and reach consumers all around the world,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“Clothing Footwear & Personal Accessories (1.61%) had a moderate year-on-year increase due to spring racing, however this growth is still lagging compared to the start of the year.”

Department Stores (2.78%) have begun to recover their year-on-year growth since July, after re-focussing their product and service offerings to compete with the impending launch of Amazon, and other global giants entering the Australian retail market.

“Cafes Restaurants & Takeaway Food (3.09%) and Food Retailing (2.95%) have seen the biggest growth year-on-year of the retail categories due to the change in season and warmer weather,” Mr Zimmerman said

South Australia (4.09%), Victoria (3.36%), Tasmania (2.68%) and New South Wales (2.43%) showed the strongest year-on-year growth of all the states. While both the Australian Capital Territory (1.31%) and the Northern Territory (0.11%) remained quite low. Unfortunately, we saw Queensland (-0.17%) and Western Australia (-0.98%) receive negative figures, a scary sign for Christmas.

“With the Labor Party threatening small business, retailers will continue to struggle to open their doors on weekends, employing more staff and meeting targets,” Mr Zimmerman said

“Consumers enjoy shopping on the weekend, and retailers across the country look forward to the Penalty Rates Decision continuing to alleviate cost pressures, enabling local retailers to open their stores for longer, and meet consumer demand.”

To view the ARA and Roy Morgan’s Annual Pre-Christmas Sales Predictions for 2017 please click here.

MONTHLY RETAIL GROWTH (September 2017– October 2017 seasonally adjusted)

Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (1.68%), Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (0.97%), Department stores (0.50%), Food retailing (0.32%), Other retailing (0.27%) and Household goods retailing (0.09%).

Northern Territory (1.68%), South Australia (1.20%), Victoria (0.99%), Australian Capital Territory (0.59%), Tasmania (0.54%), Western Australia (0.46%), New South Wales (0.26%) and Queensland (0.13%).

Total sales (0.53%).

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

Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (3.09%), Food retailing (2.95%), Department stores (2.78%), Other retailing (1.81%), Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (1.61%) and Household goods retailing (-1.95%).

South Australia (4.09%), Victoria (3.36%), Tasmania (2.68%), New South Wales (2.43%), Australian Capital Territory (1.31%), Northern Territory (0.11%), Queensland (-0.17%) and Western Australia (-0.98%

Total sales (1.82%).


To arrange an interview with Mr Zimmerman, call the ARA Media line on 0439 612 556, or email

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 or call 1300 368 041.

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