The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) retail trade figures show that sales in April rose 0.6 per cent compared with a rise of 0.8 per cent the previous month.
Retailers have welcomed an increase in retail sales, but remain cautious about declaring the journey to recovery at an end, Australian National Retailers Association (ANRA) CEO Margy Osmond said.
“While the increase is good news sales growth over the past 12 months has only reached 1.8 per cent, well below acceptable growth for the sector of around six per cent. We are yet to see the impact of other contributing factors from the month of May when the dollar fell, there was a drop in consumer confidence and global economic impacts came into play,” she said.
Solid jobs growth and the need for retail to remain in constant sale mode had contributed to the good figures for the sector, she said.
“Even before we hit the real mid-winter sale season stores have been discounting heavily to drive sales and we would expect that to continue.
“While that might be good news for shoppers searching for a bargain, it is not sustainable for retailers in the long term without having an impact on employment in the sector,” she said.
Sales rose in household goods retailing (2.6 per cent), food retailing (1.3 per cent) and clothing, footwear and other personal accessory retailing (0.3 per cent), while department stores (-2.4 per cent), other retailing (-0.7 per cent) and cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (-0.7 per cent) experienced a drop in sales.
Osmond said an increase in clothing and footwear sales of 0.3 per cent could be the ‘Carrie Bradshaw’ effect, as women buck the trend and look for some comfort in a new pair of shoes.
“Sadly, however, a similar impact hasn’t been seen in women shopping at department stores for the perfect outfit for the film with sales decreasing by 2.4 per cent.”
South Australia (2.9 per cent) recorded the largest rise in sales in April followed by Victoria (1.5 per cent), Queensland (1.2 per cent), the Northern Territory (1.2 per cent), Tasmania (0.5 per cent). Sales fell in New South Wales (-0.8 per cent), the Australian Capital Territory (-0.3 per cent) and Western Australia (-0.1 per cent).