The switch from Tony Abbott to Malcolm Turnbull has improved consumer sentiment, but the positive outlook isn’t being seen in increased sales yet, according to data from the Australian Retail Index (ARI).

The ARI, created by audit, tax and advisory firm BDO and Retail Express, draws on sales figures from thousands of retailers across the country.

BDO National Retail Lead partner Simon Scalzo said recent consumer confidence surveys pointed to a healthier outlook for the retail sector, but for the moment the Australian Retail Index was steady.

“In the week prior to the change of leader we saw sales drop off quite sharply, with the ARI down by 10%,” Scalzo said, adding that much of this can be attributed to a return to normal conditions after strong sales leading into Fathers’ Day.

“Following the switch from Tony Abbott to Malcolm Turnbull sales lifted by just under one per cent, led by fashion and accessories which saw an increase of just under four per cent.

“According to the ANZ-Roy Morgan Index consumer confidence rose sharply last week and retailers will be hoping that means it’s only a matter of time before this improved sentiment is reflected at the register.

“We’ll be watching the ARI closely over coming weeks to track the impact the change of Prime Minister has in real terms for retailers.”

Scalzo said the ARI was in the final phases of preparing for phase 2 of the index.

“Phase 2 of the ARI will provide an extremely powerful tool for retailers,” he said.

“For the first time retailers will be able to access daily data, allowing them to make rapid changes to their stock levels, marketing campaigns and staffing levels.”

This story first appeared in Appliance Retailer