Australian Bureau of Statistics

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) retail trade figures for April 2017 released today show minimal growth from March, indicating that the retail industry is still amidst trying times.

According to the ABS, retail turnover rose 1.0 per cent during April following a fall of 0.2 per cent in March 2017.

In seasonally adjusted trend terms, the ABS reported slight increases in all states and territories across the country, Queensland (2.4 per cent) leading the rise, while New South Wales (0.1 per cent) showed negligible improvement.

Department stores (2.5 per cent) experienced the highest growth, however food retailing (1.2 per cent), cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (1.1 per cent) also somewhat increased.

NRA Chief Executive Dominique Lamb said the figures released today are indicative that though the retail sector is slowly picking up, the gains are minimal and it is still very much operating within a challenging environment.

“The lack of consumer confidence within the Australian retail sector continues to gain momentum.

“The introduction of Amazon, coupled with the discussion on penalty rates and trading hours has created a cloud of uncertainty surrounding the industry for consumers and retailers alike,” she said.

The NRA predicts that retail trade figures will increase alongside consumer confidence with the Reserve Bank of Australia’s decision in May to hold interest rates at an historic low of 1.5 per cent.