Retailers aren’t expecting Christmas sales to turn around the flat market according to the Australian Retailers Association (ARA), with Christmas sales predicted to increase a moderate 2.2 per cent on last year to $39.5 billion.
The organisation’s modelling also shows a drop in sales for apparel and footwear, department stores and hospitality but expectations for the homewares industry look good.
“Household [1.5 per cent], food [3.4 per cent] and other retailing [4.2 per cent] are all set for a boost compared to last year, showing shoppers will more likely opt to spruce up the house and put on a family feast rather than put any more presents under the tree,” says ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman.

“Retailers who are usually optimistic about the festive period fear sales will be worse than last year, with over 60 per cent expecting fewer sales. Fifty-four per cent are putting goods on sale in the lead up to Christmas and 74 per cent said shoppers are looking for low prices rather than customer service or convenience.”

Zimmerman believes the November interest rate cut gave retailers more hope for Christmas and another drop next month would bring more holiday cheer.

“Sixty-five per cent of respondents of the ARA Retailer Christmas Expectations Survey said a December interest rate cut will boost sales in the lead up to Christmas because of the relief will coincide with the time people shop for their Christmas items,” he says.