Australian retailers have now experienced three consecutive months of zero or negative growth, highlighting the very challenging environment they currently face.
Australian retail turnover was unchanged (zero per cent) in September 2017, seasonally adjusted, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) retail trade figures. This follows a fall of 0.5 per cent in August 2017.
National Retail Association CEO Dominique Lamb says the ongoing flat results demonstrate the difficult circumstances retailers are confronting.
“These results demonstrate the importance of every measure that gives business any opportunity to remain competitive – such as gradually reducing weekend penalty rates to more sensible levels,” Ms Lamb said.
“It also should give governments reason to pause and consider the impact of their decisions every time they roll out policy that will add to cost or red tape for retail business owners.”
The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) says the September trade figures represent a disappointing move towards Christmas.
“With Christmas not too far away, and the ARA Roy Morgan pre-Christmas sales predictions to be released in a couple of weeks, these figures are in all honesty alarming,” ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said.
“They show an obvious weakness in consumer confidence. If Australians aren’t feeling wealthy, they will spend less, and this weakness is an issue across the board.”
The ABS reported falls in a number of categories, including household goods retailing (0.5 per cent), cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (0.1 per cent) and department stores (0.1 per cent).
These were offset by increases in food retailing (up 0.1 per cent). Other retailing and clothing, footwear and personal-accessory retailing were relatively unchanged in trend terms.