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February trade figures disappoint

The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics retail trade figures represent lower-than-expected growth for the industry, with 2.68 per cent total growth year on year.

While clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing attracted a disappointing increase of 0.85 per cent year on year, supermarkets achieved slow but steady improvement with a 3.78 per cent increase year on year.

“Although we are experiencing a cooling-off period in retail sales, we are confident that the reduction in the company tax rate for businesses with an annual turnover of less than $50 million will benefit hundreds of thousands small and medium-sized businesses, their employees and the broader Australian community,” Australian Retailers Association Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said.

In trend terms, each state experienced a narrow rise, except for Queensland, which recorded a -0.1 per cent fall.

National Retail Association CEO Dominique Lamb said the figures underlined the urgent need for the recent penalty-rate changes to be introduced.

“The retail sector should be the engine room for job creation in the economy,” she said. “However, the lack of consumer confidence has contributed to the ongoing struggle for retailers.”

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