Australian retail turnover increased 0.2 per cent in November 2016, seasonally adjusted, following an increase of 0.5 per cent in October 2016, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics Retail Trade figures.
In seasonally adjusted terms, there were rises in food retailing (0.4 per cent), clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (1.7 per cent) and household goods retailing (0.2 per cent). There were declines in cafés, restaurants and takeaway food services (-0.8 per cent), department stores (-0.3 per cent) and other retailing (-0.1 per cent).
The trend estimate for Australian retail turnover increased 0.4 per cent in November 2016 following a 0.4 per cent rise in October. Compared with November 2015, the trend estimate rose 3.4 per cent.
Online retail turnover contributed 4.1 per cent to total retail turnover in original terms.
The Australian Retailers Association said the trade figures illustrated a healthy lead-up to the 2016 Christmas period with year-on-year growth of 3.27 per cent, seasonally adjusted.
ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said this year-on-year growth was a positive sign for the industry as retailers remained hopeful that the ARA- and Roy Morgan Research-predicted pre-Christmas sales total of $48.1 billion over the Christmas trading period (November 15-December 24) would be achieved.
“We won’t be able to confirm the actual pre-Christmas spend until December retail figures are released next month,” he said. “However, when speaking with retailers across the country, many reported a strong start to Christmas sales in November due to many consumers getting on top of their holiday shopping early.”
With November leading into holiday season, Mr Zimmerman said consumers probably spent more time out and about enjoying the good weather and social drinks – as reflected in liquor sales growth of 4.85 per cent year on year.
“The takeaway services category also demonstrated robust growth, taking the lead again with a 9.91 per cent increase year on year reflecting consumer uptake of innovative services and products in the space,” he said.
“Another category experiencing a strong year-on-year increase was clothing, footwear and accessories at 5.82 per cent.”
Despite the closure of a number of Masters stores across Australia, other hardware retailers, particularly Bunnings, led the charge for further exceptional growth in the sector at 10.15 per cent year on year.