Retail turnover falls 0.6 per cent in August

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Australian retail turnover fell 0.6 per cent in August 2017, seasonally adjusted, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) retail trade figures. This follows a fall of 0.2 per cent in July 2017.

In seasonally adjusted terms, there were falls in food retailing (-0.6 per cent); cafes, restaurants and takeaway-food services (-1.3 per cent); household-goods retailing (-1.0 per cent); and clothing, footwear and personal-accessory retailing (-0.2 per cent). There were rises in department stores (0.7 per cent) and other retailing (0.1 per cent) in August 2017.
In seasonally adjusted terms, there were falls in all states and territories.

“Victoria (-0.8 per cent) and Queensland (-0.8 per cent) led the falls,” Quarterly Economy Wide surveys Director Ben James said.
“There were also falls in NSW (-0.2 per cent), WA (-0.6 per cent), South Australia (-0.6 per cent), the ACT (-0.8 per cent), Tasmania (-0.7 per cent) and the Northern Territory (-0.7 per cent).”

The trend estimate for Australian retail turnover rose 0.1 per cent in August 2017 following a 0.1 per cent rise in July 2017. Compared with August 2016, the trend estimate rose 2.8 per cent.

Online retail turnover contributed 4.6 per cent to total retail turnover in original terms.

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) says the August trade figures represent a lower-than-expected move towards spring, with a 2.13% total growth year-on-year.

ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman says the August retail trade figures continue to show strong growth in the ‘Other Retailing’ category, which includes gambling and online goods and services, but that the broader retail categories have suffered significantly.

“With many historic challenges affecting the Australian industry these past few months, we have expected to see the sector suffer,” he said.

“With increased energy costs, higher tax burdens and an inflexible wage system, we need government action to increase consumer and business confidence.

“July month-to-month retail trade figures saw a return to growth for department stores – to see these figures go backwards is of high concern to the sector.

“As we lead into spring racing and the beginning of the Christmas season, we expect to see a pickup in food retailing and clothing, footwear and accessories.”