Retail records an ordinary end to an ordinary year

The Australian retail trade figures for June have rounded out a flat financial year, with retail trade barely growing over the 12 months since June 2015.

The National Retail Association (NRA) said the increase of 0.2 per cent in May in trend terms (0.1 per cent seasonally adjusted) showed the retail trade sector was suffering from the general lack of confidence in the economy.

NRA Chief Executive Officer Dominique Lamb said the annualised growth figure of 3.1 per cent was essentially flat when population growth was taken into account.

“The retail sector would normally consider growth of 4.0 per cent per year to be a base level, when population growth is taken into account. So growth of 3.1 per cent for the year is very much a flat, ordinary result.”

Ms Lamb said the Reserve Bank’s decision earlier this week to lower interest rates would inject some much-needed consumer confidence into the market, which would hopefully flow through to stronger growth and employment for retail in the latter half of the year.

“The rates cut was a good start, but retailers also need to see our political leaders doing their part to boost confidence and provide certainty.

“It’s no coincidence that these numbers have been depressed over several months leading up to the Federal Election. We know that retailers always suffer during long election campaigns while consumers put buying decisions on hold.

“Now that the election is out of the way and the Parliament is settled, we need both sides of politics to focus on policies and outcomes that will give consumers greater certainty, and allow businesses to get on with the job of creating jobs and prosperity.”

Of the various retail sectors, clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing recorded the strongest growth, (0.5%) along with “Other Retailing” (0.5%), Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (0.4%), and Department stores (0.1%).

Food retailing and Household goods retailing (bother 0.0%) were relatively unchanged in trend terms.

New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania recorded the strongest growth (0.3%), followed by Victoria (0.2%).

Queensland experienced no growth (0.0%) while the Northern Territory (-0.4%) and the Australian Capital Territory (-0.2%) fell in trend terms in June 2016.

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