Less-than-stellar retail figures for January

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New figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showed a modest 2.09 per cent total growth year on year for January 2018 trade.

Executive Director for the Australia Retailers Association (ARA) Russell Zimmerman says the ARA and Roy Morgan post-Christmas sales predictions are close to the actual post-Christmas sales results released by the ABS.

“We predicted a 2.9 per cent increase in post-Christmas trade, forecasting Australians to spend almost $17.9 billion from December 26, 2017 to January 15, 2018. As this forecast is over a three-week period, the ARA and Roy Morgan will analyse these results against the December and January trade results to see if our predictions are on track.”

Other retailing led the pack in January, rising 3.22 per cent and driven primarily by online retail, which grew 3.23 per cent year on year.

“The ARA and Roy Morgan predicted online retail to grow the strongest of all categories in post-Christmas trading, forecasting a 4.02 per cent increase in post-Christmas trade,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“With the constant increase in online sales, we believe online retail will only get bigger as we continue to progress through the new year.”

On the flip side, newspapers and books fell 5.08 per cent, footwear and personal accessories was down 2.32 per cent, takeaway food slipped 0.95 per cent, and department stores dropped 0.94 per cent in January.

“With retail figures continuing to underperform, landlords need to understand how escalating rental costs affect an already struggling industry,” Mr Zimmerman said.

The ARA notes that with average rental prices increasing five per cent, retailers are facing unsustainable price hikes, and many are looking to landlords to help alleviate the financial pinch.

“The retail industry is struggling, and without retail landlords won’t survive, so we need support now,” Mr Zimmerman said.

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