Retailers have received a welcome boost, with the latest figures signalling a pick-up in consumer confidence. 

The Australian Bureau of Statistics sales figures for February are the largest monthly increase since November 2017 and indicate that consumer confidence is heading in the right direction, according to National Retail Association CEO, Dominique Lamb.

“It has been a very sluggish period for retail and these figures serve as a giant morale boost to businesses across the country. Combined with tax cuts announced in the 2019 Budget, this bodes well for an increase in discretionary spending in the coming months which will be very good news for retail,” she said.

Australian retail turnover rose 0.8% in February 2019, seasonally adjusted and the modest rise follows subdued results in December and January. There were gains across most industries including a 3.5% rise in department stores and a 1.1% rise in household goods.

In seasonally adjusted terms, there were rises in all states and territories apart from a slight fall in Tasmania. The trend estimate also rose 0.2% in February and comes after a 0.2% rise in January. Compared to February 2018, the trend estimate increased 2.9%. Online retail turnover contributed 5.6% to total retail turnover in February, unchanged from January, but is an increase from 5.1% in February 2018.

Australian Retailers Association, executive director, Russell Zimmerman said while there were some fluctuations in discretionary spending categories,  where turnover may have declined month-on-month but remains higher compared to this time last year, “the bottom line in these numbers is that consumers continue to spend with confidence, which is great for businesses in the retail sector”.

This article was republished with permission from Appliance Retailer.