The latest ABS figures show Australia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 0.5 per cent in the September quarter.

Growth for the quarter was driven by a 0.5 per cent contribution from private business investment, a 0.3 per cent contribution from changes in inventories and a 0.2 per cent contribution from household final consumption expenditure. These increases were partially offset by a -0.5 per cent contribution from public investment.

According to Australian National Retailers Association (ANRA) CEO Margy Osmond, these results indicate that families are still saving and are not spending.

“[The] Gross Domestic Product data shows the economy has slowed slightly in the September quarter, with quarterly growth at 0.5% versus 0.6% in the June quarter,” she said.

“The important numbers for retailers are those for Household Financial Consumption Expenditure, which grew 0.3 per cent. Retailers will be concerned at the result, as it represents the slowest quarterly growth since March 2010 and is down from 0.7 per cent for the June quarter and 1.8 per cent for the March quarter, this year.

“Coupled with this is a persistent focus by households on saving – the household savings ratio is 10.6 per cent – above 10 per cent for the ninth consecutive quarter and at historical highs.

“The first half of the year was a boon for the sector, but the second half has failed to live up to expectations created in early 2012. We can only hope the Christmas period lifts projections for the final quarter of 2012 and saves the day.”