Spending solid in September

Shopper scanning labelsAustralian retail spending rose 3.7 per cent in September 2015 compared with September 2014, according to official figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

This figure is less than the 4.6 per cent year on year growth in August, with September sales totalling $24.5 billion. Month on month, retail spending rose 0.4 per cent in September. Online retail turnover contributed 3.3 per cent to total retail turnover in original terms.

Russell Zimmerman, executive director of the Australian Retailers Association, said the growth is less than the sector had hoped for in the run up to Christmas trade.

“To ensure the resilience of Christmas spending, the ARA would have hoped to see sales growth of closer to five per cent, especially off the back of the last seven months of above four per cent growth,” said Zimmerman.

“While we don’t expect to see Christmas sales dip below the $45.2 billion of last year, our early prediction is that Christmas revenue growth will be around the four percent increase of 2014,” said Zimmerman.

The following states and territories rose in trend terms in September 2015: Victoria (0.5 per cent), NSW (0.3 per cent), Western Australia (0.3 per cent), Tasmania (0.3 per cent), South Australia (0.1 per cent) and the Northern Territory (0.1 per cent). The Australian Capital Territory (0.0 per cent) was relatively unchanged. Queensland fell 0.1 per cent in trend terms in September 2015.

National Retail Association CEO, Trevor Evans, said the figures showed an increase in consumer confidence off the back of the change of prime minister and treasurer. “After consumer spending picked up in August, indicating consumers were feeling more confident and cashed up than they were earlier in the year, it’s pleasing to see this trend continue through September,” said Evans.

“We expect that the October figures will reveal a further positive response to prime minister Turnbull’s first full month in office. This momentum is important for retailers as they head into the critical Christmas period.”

The following industries rose in trend terms in September 2015: other retailing (0.6 per cent), food retailing (0.2 per cent), cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (0.4 per cent), household goods retailing (0.3 per cent).

Department stores (0.0 per cent) were relatively unchanged though seasonal adjustment showed a fall of two per cent. Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (-0.1 per cent) fell in trend terms in September 2015.

Retail Council CEO, Anna McPhee, said September’s boost in consumer activity is a welcome result and provides strong momentum following August’s rise of 0.4 per cent (month on month).

“The August and September momentum might be a sign that the sector is on a positive and sustainable growth path once again and puts the retail sector in a good position heading into the final months of the year – an important time for the economy,” said McPhee.

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