The Australian Retailers Association: April’s modest growth brings some relief for food retailers whilst other parts of the sector continue to struggle

Melbourne, Australia, 2017-Jun-01 — /EPR Retail News/ — The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) said April’s modest retail trade growth of 3.08% year-on-year released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) brings some relief for food retailers whilst other parts of the sector continue to struggle.

ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said although April’s growth figure is quite modest, the past few months have been difficult for the industry as they continue to face a challenging operating environment.

The industry continues to demonstrate real weakness in discretionary spend categories with Household Goods (0.67%), Hardware & Building (-0.95%) and Electrical Good Retailing (-0.33%) showing signs for concern.

“As the retail sector is experiencing economic transformation, we continue to see some parts of the industry struggling.” Mr Zimmerman said.

Despite this broader industry decline, the ARA have seen strong signs of growth for categories including Food retailing (4.29%), Liquor (7.31%) and Takeaway Food Services (6.16%). Cafés and Restaurants have also picked up since March, showing a 4.19% growth year-on-year due to family-based festivities over the Easter long weekend.

“With a number of public holidays in April, consumers enjoyed their time out at cafés and bars with friends and family, especially over the Easter period,” Mr Zimmerman said.

In regards to state categories, Victoria (4.19%), Queensland (4.05%) and South Australia (4.00%) take the lead with solid year-on-year growth figures. Australian Capital Territory (3.73%), Tasmania (2.76%) and New South Wales (2.60%) also showed moderate to good increases for the period. While Western Australia (-0.05%) and Northern Territory (0.61%) illustrate a less positive growth trend.

“There has been a significant change in consumer spending habits as the Government’s tax increases after the Budget have proved counterproductive to retail growth and consumers are holding onto their pockets tightly,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“It is clear the Australian retail industry is going through a structural change, and it will only become stronger once growth returns to the sector,”

“We’re hoping to see a spike in discretionary spend when mid-year sales hit in June, and look forward to seeing the whole industry receive a strong trade in May.”

MONTHLY RETAIL GROWTH (March 2017– April 2017 seasonally adjusted)
Household goods retailing (0.35%), Other retailing (0.56%), Food retailing (1.19%), Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (0.27%), Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (1.12%) and Department stores (2.47%).

Northern Territory (1.79%), South Australia (1.11%), Australian Capital Territory (0.91%), Victoria (1.02%), Tasmania (1.18%), Western Australia (0.43%), New South Wales (0.12%) and Queensland (2.41%).

Total sales (0.95%).

YEAR-ON-YEAR RETAIL GROWTH (April 2016 – April 2017 seasonally adjusted)

Household goods retailing (0.67%), Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (5.01%), Food retailing (4.29%), Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (0.27%), Other retailing (3.67%) and Department stores (0.13%).

New South Wales (2.60%), South Australia (4.00%), Tasmania (2.76%), Victoria (4.19%), Australian Capital Territory (3.73%), Western Australia (-0.05%), Queensland (4.05%) and Northern Territory (0.61%).

Total sales (3.08%).

For interview opportunities with ARA Spokesperson call the ARA Media Line on 0439 612 556, or emailmedia@retail.org.au

About the Australian Retailers Association:

Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is the retail industry’s peak representative body representing Australia’s $310 billion sector, which employs more than 1.2 million people. The ARA works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 7,500 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.

SOURCE: Australian Retailers Association