ABS figures released today highlight need for government stability
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ABS figures released today highlight need for government stability

August 21, 2015

Date: February 5, 2015

The National Retail Association today said the government and opposition have a duty to put speculation and instability to rest aside and instead get on with the job, if growth in the retail sector is to be sustained.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics today released its December 2014 sales results showing a seasonally-adjusted growth of 0.2 per cent in December, following a rise of 0.1 per cent in November. In trend terms retail trade grew by a welcome 4.3 per cent seasonally adjusted, in the 12 months from December 2013.

NRA Chief Executive Trevor Evans said the results suggest Australia is heading back in the right direction, but that the momentum is fragile.
“Today’s figures come right on the back of the Reserve Bank’s decision to cut the official interest rate, which, on the face of it, is all welcome news for retailers, and likely to put more money into the pockets of consumers in the coming months,” Mr Evans said.
“At the same time, the RBA decision clearly indicates some nervousness about the ongoing strength of the economy. So in order to maintain consumer confidence we are calling on political leaders to put an end to the current speculation and ensure government gets on with the job of governing,” he said.

These figures reflect the Christmas performance of the retail sector, and as such the strongest growth was experienced in product categories such as fashion, electronics and homewares.

Queensland enjoyed the greatest rise, at 0.6 per cent seasonally adjusted, closely followed by Western Australia at 0.5 per cent, the ACT at 0.4 per cent and New South Wales at 0.2 per cent seasonally adjusted. Victoria was relatively unchanged, with falls in South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory.

Mr Evans said the sector had enjoyed relatively consistent and modest growth throughout 2014, after previous years of economic weakness and political instability.

“Today’s figures, coupled with Tuesday’s rate cut, send a message to the Federal Government and the Opposition – yes, we are back on the right track but this could be undermined if a focus on essential policy settings is abandoned in order to deal with distracting party speculation and instability.

“Our leaders need to move quickly towards a ‘back to basics’ approach. It is time to get on with the job and allow businesses to move forward and to create employment and prosperity throughout the coming year,” he said.

The NRA is Australia’s largest and most diverse retail industry organisation, and has been representing the interests of the retail, fast food and broader service sector for almost 100 years.

Media contact:  SAS Media and Communications – 07 3171 2960 or 0467 792 01

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