The National Retail Association (NRA) has said that today’s Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) retail trade figures for October prove that retail continues to face challenges even as we enter the busy Christmas period.
According to the ABS figures, retail remained unchanged in October at 0.0 per cent seasonally adjusted.
There were small rises across the following industries – Food retailing (0.2%), other retailing (0.2%), household goods retailing (0.2%), clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (0.2%), and cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (0.1%) – except for department stores which fell (-0.1%).
NRA CEO Dominique Lamb said the October figures underline what a trying year 2019 has been fore retail.
“Despite tax cuts and interest rate drops, today’s figures show that consumer confidence has remained low,” Ms Lamb said.
“The good news though is that feedback we have received so far is that the Christmas trade period is acting as the circuit breaker needed to turn things around.
Ms Lamb said that last weekend (Black Friday to Cyber Monday) was the busiest weekend of the year.
“Aussie shoppers splurged a record $5 billion as retailers offered bargain prices,” Ms Lamb said.
“For the first time ever, Black Friday was the busiest day of the year for online spend, demonstrating that the event is picking up more momentum each year.
“Discretionary spending has been the big issue in 2019, but with shoppers descending on shopping centres for Black Friday, feedback has been that people have finally unlocked the padlock on their wallets or purses.
“Early signs are that the slow retail sales experienced for much of 2019 has not transition into the Christmas period.”