On the up: retail sector grows for three months in a row

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Aussie retailers have welcomed their third consecutive month of retail growth, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

National Retail Association Dominique Lamb gave the figures a cautious welcome. She says there is still a long way to go for the domestic industry. But she also acknowledges that June’s “modest” seasonally adjusted 0.4 per cent retail growth suggests consumer confidence may be returning.

“Food retailing has again led the charge with a 0.9 per cent increase, which reflects a very strong trend we’re seeing right across the sector,” Ms Lamb said.

“Experiential retailing in general, which is highly focused on food, has exploded. It has really become the foundation of all modern consumer habits.

“Better technology and data analytics have allowed shopping centres and individual retailers to see and now really begin to understand people’s changing shopping preferences and habits. We’re seeing that reflected in the consistently good results in food retailing.”

ABS figures show online retail turnover contributed 5.7 per cent of total retail turnover in original terms for June. This is a rise from 4.1 per cent of total retail turnover for the same period in 2017.

Retail changing ‘dramatically’

“The entire retail landscape in Australia has changed dramatically,” Ms Lamb said. “Retailers all over Australia have been pivoting their business models accordingly. This includes investing more time and resources in creating coordinated, omni-channel approaches and improving their fulfilment and delivery processes.

“One of the reasons we’ve fought so hard on other issues like trading hours is to make sure that the legislation reflects these powerful consumer trends, and that retailers can open their bricks-and-mortar stores when consumers want to shop.

“It’s all about giving retailers the proper regulatory framework that supports a dynamic industry, where retailers are able to remain relevant to modern consumers.”

The ABS figures show that in seasonally adjusted terms, there were rises in: Victoria (1.1 per cent), NSW (0.4 per cent), WA (0.2 per cent), ACT (1.2 per cent) and Tasmania (0.9 per cent).

SA (zero per cent) did not change in June 2018. There were falls in Queensland (-0.3 per cent) and the Northern Territory (-0.4 per cent).