The release of retail trade data by the Australian Bureau of Statistics this week has revealed that sales failed to meet the expectation of economic projections, with an increase of 0.2 per cent recorded in seasonally adjusted terms.

This estimate is on the back of a 0.2 per cent increase for March.

Growth in turnover for the Australian retail industry was 3.4 per cent in April compared with the same month last year.

In trend terms, retail sales in department stores fell by 0.1 per cent, while clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing was up 0.8 per cent.

While the results have fallen short of economic predictions, there is some good news with sustained performance in the hardware, building, and garden supplies category of retail.

Despite the sustained performance of this category across the past two years, a decline in the sales of established residential dwellings will impact hardware businesses in the coming months.

Analysis of the trade data does suggest continued, above average performance for New South Wales and Victoria, which expanded by 0.3 per cent and 0.2 per cent respectively, while Queensland was unchanged 0.0 per cent.

Despite the lower than expected sales results in April, the National Retail Association’s growth forecast, for actual retail sales across 2014/15, remains at 4.4 per cent, which would produce turnover of $298.7 billion.

For further information on the business and industry intelligence service at the National Retail Association, please contact 1800 738 245.

Cameron Meiklejohn, Industry Research and Data Analyst