Saturday, June 15, 2024

Retail sales rebound in January

Australian retail turnover rose 1.9% in January, a solid year-on-year growth increase of 7.5% on the same time the previous year, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). This follows a 4% fall in December and a rise of 1.7% in November.

Shoppers celebrated the New Year, spending more than $35 million across the country. There were significant year-on-year sales increases for cafes, restaurants and takeaway (up 26.3%), department stores (up 16.6 %) and clothing, footwear and accessories (up 17.5%).

“Looking through this volatility shows that turnover is at a similar level to September 2022, and on average, growth has been flat over the past few months,” says ABS Head of Retail Statistics Ben Dorber.

“November, December and January are the most seasonal months of the year, with retail activity heavily affected by the Christmas period and January holidays. This has been heightened by an increase in the popularity of Black Friday sales and growing cost of living pressures combining to drive a change in usual consumer spending patterns.”

Turnover rose in all industries, driven mainly by non-food industries rebounding from large falls in December. Department stores had the largest rise (8.8%), followed by clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (6.5%), other retailing (2.9%) and household goods retailing (1.1%).

Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services rose (1.2%) to a new record high level following slowing growth in recent months.

“The continued return of large-scale sporting and cultural events in January, combined with high costs reflected in prices, has boosted sales in catering services which are part of the cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services industry,” says Mr Dorber.

Food retailing had the smallest rise (0.3%).

Retail turnover rose across all states and territories, a reversal of last month’s declines across the country.

Australian Retailers Association CEO Paul Zahra says while the sales results remain impressive, the cost of doing business and gross margins for many retailers remains a serious concern.

“Today’s sales data is a strong result, particularly for apparel traders and department stores who have worked hard to clear their summer inventory,” he says.

“There’s no doubt that an impressive Boxing Day trade certainly bolstered these sales, with the shoppathon a fixture on the January calendar.

“The sales recorded by restaurants and cafes are particularly strong – and it’s clear the appetite for dining out has been boosted after the challenges of the pandemic.”

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