ABS figures show household goods still growing

Household goods sales keep going the right way with retail growth numbers for August up by 0.20 per cent and total year on year growth increasing by 2.16 per cent, according to the latest ABS figures.

Russell Zimmerman, executive director of the Australian Retailers Association (ARA), says the August trade figures were driven by the launch of new season products and the confidence seen in the change in Prime Minister as well as the psychological effect of the personal tax cuts coming into play from July this year.

“This quiet consumer confidence can be seen across various retail categories with consumers rewarding themselves with little luxuries across the market,” he says.

“Department stores saw solid growth in August with this retail category reaching two per cent year-on-year growth―the biggest increase they’ve seen since May this year.

“This quiet growth is somewhat comforting for all retailers across Australia, especially leading up to Christmas. We hope this boost in consumer confidence and discretionary spend flows through to the end of year where retailers are hoping to see their biggest trade yet.”

Acting National Retail Association (NRA), Lindsay Carroll, is a bit more cautious. While the report shows a small rise in turnover of 0.3 per cent, it shows the need for the sector to not be complacent ahead of Christmas.

“The August ABS retail figures are far from disastrous, but they do show that the sector is continuing to experience a modest sales period,” she says.

“The August report is certainly an improvement on July, with five of the six retail industries recording a rise in turnover, and all state and territories bar the Northern Territory seeing an increase in sales.

“Given this is the weakest back-to-back monthly sales result for the whole of 2018, it’s very important that we don’t get complacent ahead of the most important period of the year, especially with increases to Saturday and evening penalty rates being phased-in for casual employees in retail from 1 November,” she adds.