Retailers still weathering the storm as turnover edges up



December 06, 2018 13:01:26

Australian shoppers may not be out in force, but they still were prepared to flash their credit cards about in October.

Key points:

  • Retail turnover was patchy in October with strong sales growth in Queensland, Victoria and WA, but a fall in NSW
  • Clothing, footwear and accessories led the way, while restaurants, cafes and take away outlets saw turnover fall
  • The result marginally beat forecasts, but was still considered weak after September sales were revised down

Defying poor wage growth, shrinking wealth and tighter credit, retail sales edged up 0.3 per cent over the month in seasonally adjusted terms.

The resiliance follows yesterday’s third quarter GDP figures that showed the consumer sector was under pressure from falling household incomes and the impact of declining house prices.

However, it is still a far from robust performance, with September’s result being revised down to 0.1 per cent growth.

After a fairly tough couple of months — which saw a number of national chains such as Roger David, Marcs and Oroton hit the wall — the clothing and accessories sector bounced back with the strongest growth.

However, restaurants, cafes and takeaway outlets had a tougher time, with sales down almost 1 per cent.

Online sales claimed a record share of total turnover of 5.9 per cent for the month, up from 5.6 per cent in September.

A year ago online sales accounted for just 4.7 per cent of all sales.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics survey pointed to a fairly patchy performance across regions.

There was strong sales growth in Queensland and the ACT (both +1.1pc) while Victoria, Western Australia and the Northern Territory all reported a 0.6 per cent lift in sales.

The positives were offset to an extent by a fall in New South Wales (-0.4pc), where poor weather kept some shoppers indoors.

South Australian and Tasmania both recorded a marginal lift in turnover, up 0.1 pc.







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