New research released today in the June ARA Australian Retailers Index revealed a 24 per cent jump in confidence among SME retailers over the past quarter, with confidence rising to its highest level since August 2008.
Australian Retailers Association (ARA) executive director Richard Evans said confidence among retail SMEs reached positive 18 per cent and reflected the sector’s optimistic outlook for the months ahead.
“There is a definite feeling of optimism this quarter with retailers telling us the future looks good, reflecting the rise in consumer sentiment and aligning with expectations of improved retail trade growth by the September quarter,” said Evans.
With consumer confidence rising, retail sales performance also increased four per cent to negative 14 per cent. Expectations for continued sales growth jumped 40 per cent to a balance of six per cent, further cementing the sector’s positive outlook for improved growth in the coming months.
Retailers also said that confidence was improving because their businesses were established and experienced and their pricing was competitive. Other retail SMEs noted they had been able to find opportunities in the current economic downturn, with their products being more popular for consumers who were decreasing their spend.
“Adding to retail confidence was improved support for the Federal Government with the three per cent approval rating up eight per cent from the previous quarter,” said Evans.
“Retailers said they were feeling the benefit of the Federal Government’s economic stimulus package and they were also supportive of the 50 per cent tax rebate for small business investments announced as part of the Federal Budget.
“However, there was still 25 per cent of retailers who believed the Federal Government’s policies worked against small business with a feeling there was too much bureaucracy related to retail operations,” he said.
The Australian Retailers Index analyses the Sensis Business Index results for businesses in the retail sector, providing a snapshot of the retail sector every quarter in the following categories: retailer confidence; retailer concerns; sales, profitability and employment; capital expenditure; wages and prices and assessment of Federal Government policies.