ABS figures show retail in solid position for Christmas

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Australian retail turnover rose 0.5 per cent in October 2017, seasonally adjusted, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Retail Trade figures.

This follows a 0.1 per cent rise in September 2017.

“In seasonally adjusted terms, there were rises across all industries led by cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services [1.7 per cent],” the Director of the Quarterly Economy Wide Survey Ben James said.

There were also rises for food retailing (0.3 per cent), clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (1.0 per cent), other retailing (0.3 per cent), department stores (0.5 per cent) and household-goods retailing (0.1 per cent) in October 2017.

NRA CEO Dominique Lamb says the figures show that retail is awakening from its slumber following sluggish results in previous months.

“Australian retail had experienced three consecutive months of zero or negative growth before the release of the October figures, so an increase in retail turnover of 0.5 per cent is certainly welcome news,” she said.

“With the retail sector now in the middle of the busy Christmas period, the NRA is optimistic that these figures show retail getting back up on its feet.”

In seasonally adjusted terms, all states rose. There were rises in Victoria (one per cent), NSW (0.3 per cent), South Australia (1.2 per cent), Western Australia (0.5 per cent), Queensland (0.1 per cent), the Northern Territory (1.7 per cent), ACT (0.6 per cent) and Tasmania (0.5 per cent).

The trend estimate for Australian retail turnover fell 0.1 per cent in October 2017 following a relatively unchanged estimate (zero per cent) in September 2017. Compared with October 2016, the trend estimate rose 1.8 per cent.

Online retail turnover contributed 4.7 per cent to total retail turnover in original terms.

“Off the back of these figures, the NRA is confident that the retail sector is on track to record the $48 billion in sales that we forecasted for the Christmas trade period,” Ms Lamb said.