Australian retail sales fell more than expected in December 2017 after a strong showing in November.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), sales fell by 0.5 per cent to $26.261 billion, which is more than the predicted decline of 0.2 per cent.
“There were falls for household goods retailing (-2.6 per cent) and other retailing (-1.8 per cent) following strong rises in the November month,” said Ben James, director of Quarterly Economy Wide Surveys.
“Department stores (-0.6 per cent), cafes, restaurants and takeaways (-0.1 per cent), and clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (-0.1 per cent) also fell. Food retailing rose (0.7 per cent) in December 2017.”
Online retail turnover contributed 4.8 per cent to total retail turnover in original terms in December. This is compared to 3.8 per cent in December 2016.
In seasonally adjusted terms, there were falls in Victoria (-0.8 per cent), New South Wales (-0.4 per cent), Western Australia (-0.8 per cent), Tasmania (-1.6 per cent), the Australian Capital Territory (-1.5 per cent), South Australia (-0.3 per cent), and the Northern Territory (-0.7 per cent). Queensland was relatively unchanged (0.0 per cent) in seasonally adjusted terms.
Australian Retailers Association (ARA) executive director Russell Zimmerman said the volatility in the retail sector signals the need for strong leadership.
“This low growth isn’t being helped by the constant and unsustainable rent increases from landlords, especially where sales growth is running below inflation,” he said.
“Although these figures are more conservative than retailers would have liked, we are hopeful that the improving economy will spur growth for retailers across the country in 2018.”
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