August retail figures show slight growth for retail trade
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August retail figures show slight growth for retail trade

October 06, 2016

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) retail trade figures released today show a slight increase on the July 2016 figures, but still demonstrate that the sector is experiencing a flat period. 

In seasonally adjusted terms, retail turnover rose by 0.4 per cent in August, which follows the stagnant figures recorded for July 2016. 

NRA Chief Executive Dominique Lamb said the August figures showed that the industry was slowly starting to come out of the sluggish state it has been in over previous months, but that the industry was still suffering from a lack of consumer confidence. 

“The figures released today by the ABS for August are certainly an improvement on the July figures, but they still demonstrate that the retail sector is experiencing a relatively flat period,” Ms Lamb said. 

“Retail figures depressed in the lead up to the Federal election and it would seem that the sector is still suffering from a general lack of confidence in the economy. 

“Now that federal parliament has returned since the election, we are hopeful that both sides of politics will focus on outcomes that provide certaintiy to consumers, which in turn sees a rise in market confidence,” she said. 

The figures follow the Reserve Bank’s decision yesterday yesterday to leave the cash rate unchanged at 1.50 per cent.  

Ms Lamb said that maintaining record low interest rates was key to consumer confidence returning to the market, and was hopeful the figures would continue to steadily grow. 

“Maintaining low interest rates over time will steadily see consumer confidence return to the sector and we do expect the market to pick up between now and Christmas. 

“Clearly the economy in general is still going through a flat period and we hope that the Reserve Bank keeps this front of mind in the coming months.”  

The ABS found that the largetst rise was in department stores (3.5 per cent), which bounced back from a drop of 5.8 per cent in July. In seasonally adjusted terms, increases were also found in cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (1.2 per cent), food retailing (0.3 per cent) and household goods retailing (0.2 per cent). 

Victoria, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory all recorded the  strongest growth (0.7 per cent), followed by New South Wales (0.5 per cent) and South Australia (0.4 per cent). While there were drops in the figures for Western Australia (-0.5 per cent), Norther Territory (-0.5 per cent) and Tasmania (-0.1 per cent). 

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