By Aimee Chanthadavong

Retailers are demanding economic and political stability to bring consumer confidence back so they begin spending once again.

The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics Retail Trade figures show the Australian retail turnover rose a mere 0.1 per cent in May 2013, seasonally adjusted, following a revised fall of 0.1 per cent in the previous month.

Speaking to RetailBiz, National Retail Association (NRA) chief executive Trevor Evans said due to economic uncertainty it is stalling consumer spending.

“This is a negligible rise. This is further evidence growth has stalled. Consumers are responding to the uncertainty of this long election period, as well as pessimism around jobs, particularly around the mining sector and recent news of the worsening Budget position. Shoppers are sitting on their hand and their wallets while they wait for a stable, long term plan,” he said.

“Revenue is essential for any typical business. The big question is what will it take to get consumers to spend again and do so with more confidence. Essentially they’re saving a large portion of their earnings, so what portion is going to retail spending.”

The ABS results showed when consumers spent it was for other retailing (0.8 per cent), department stores (0.8 per cent), clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (0.4 per cent) and food retailing.

These rises were largely offset by falls in cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (-0.6 per cent) and household goods retailing (-0.3 per cent). Over the longer term, food retailing remains the largest contributor to growth (up 0.3 per cent in trend terms).

“If we could ask for one thing is for an election sooner rather than later. Regardless of which side wins we do not want a hung Parliament. It’s time they show there’s a long term plan for the economy and the nation,” Evans said.