The economy will continue to suffer, as retail trend estimates showed no change for June 2008 and a turnover decrease of 3.9 per cent compared with May 2008.

According to the Australian Retail Association’s (ARA) executive director Richard Evans the retail sector in Australia is a barometer of the economy and if it’s struggling it’s a sure sign that times will continue to toughen for the broader economy as 10 years of economic sunshine come to an end.

“The trend estimates show a decrease in turnover trend estimates for department stores (-0.8 per cent), clothing and soft good retailing (-0.6 per cent), recreational good retailing (-0.2 per cent) and hospitality and services (-0.1 per cent).

However, Evans said that food retailing showed an increase of +0.2 per cent, as people are staying home for dinner and bringing their self-made lunches to work.

“Department stores and clothing retailers continue to struggle, but the hospitality retailers including cafes and restaurants are beginning to experience the drop off in consumer spend as families prefer home cooked meals and workers bring packed lunches rather than heading out to nearby cafes,” said Evans.