Retail sales are still on the up

According to Mastercard SpendingPulse, Australian retail sales continue to strengthen with April figures increasing 9.9 per cent compared to the same time last year.

Home furnishings recorded a strong year on year sales growth of 15.7 per cent, while jewellery and apparel were up 13.2 and 11.9 per cent respectively.

Australian Retailers Association (ARA) CEO Paul Zahra says whilst it’s pleasing to see a strengthening of sales, ongoing inflationary pressures are continuing to challenge many businesses.

“April was another strong month for retail with businesses spurred along by increased spending around the Easter holiday with people getting away for a well-earned break and stocking up on food and drinks for their family get togethers,” he says.

“Covid restrictions were also eased including close contact isolation requirements, which allowed many businesses to trade closer to their full potential.

“However, whilst overall retail sales continue to increase, so too does the cost of doing business with inflationary pressures impacting operations. We’re also seeing many households start to tighten their budgets with interest rates now on the rise,” he adds.

“The higher consumer prices that are flowing through the economy are also contributing to the increased levels of sales, so while retail turnover is strong it doesn’t necessarily mean businesses are thriving, as they too have to manage the higher cost of living.”