Home furnishings sales dip in December
While Australian retail sales increased 1.7 per cent in December compared to the same time last year, there were year-on-year falls for home furnishings (down 2.4 per cent) and fuel and convenience (down 4.1 per cent).
“Home furnishings and fuel and convenience were down on the previous year due to a higher sales base last year, as these sectors had record growth last year due to the lockdowns ending,” explains Australian Retailers Association (ARA) CEO, Paul Zahra.
According to the latest Mastercard SpendingPulse, most retail categories continued to show sales growth year on year including apparel (up 6.7 per cent) and electronics (up 3.5 per cent).
It comes after Christmas came early for retailers in the bumper Black Friday trade, with a range of sales and deals encouraging shoppers to buy ahead.
“Achieving spending growth in December during the peak of Australia’s shopping activity is encouraging for retailers, especially in a period of economic uncertainty.”
Zahra adds that the December results are a testament to the resilience of the retail industry and set a good foundation for 2023, with inflationary pressures and the rising cost of living bringing a period of uncertainty.
“We’re aware that it will be a challenging environment for businesses, particularly small businesses on tighter margins, as they continue to battle rising operating costs associated with fuel, energy, labour, supply chains and rent.”