food retailing led July retail trade rise


Retail turnover rose 0.4 per cent in June, seasonally adjusted, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) retail trade figures.

This is the third consecutive month of retail growth, which National Retail Association (NRA) CEO Dominique Lamb said suggests consumer confidence may be returning.

Food retailing led the rise with 0.4 per cent, followed by clothing, footwear and personal accessories, which was up 1.7 per cent after a 2.3 per cent rise in May.

There were also rises for cafes, restaurants and takeaways (0.9 per cent) and household goods (0.4 per cent). Other retailing (0.0 per cent) was relatively unchanged, while department stores fell -1.2 per cent.

Lamb said the rise in food retailing reflects a wider trend towards consumers spending on experiences.

“Experiential retailing in general, which is highly focused on food, has exploded and it has really become the foundation of all modern consumer habits,” she says.

“Better technology and data analytics have allowed shopping centres and individual retailers to see and now really begin to understand people’s changing shopping preferences and habits, and we are seeing that reflected in the consistently good results in food retailing.”

Online retail turnover contributed 5.7 per cent of total retail turnover in original terms—a rise from 4.1 per cent of total retail turnover for the same period in 2017.

Lamb said this reflects the changing retail landscape in Australia, with business owners investing more time and resources into omnichannel approaches and improving their fulfilment and delivery processes.

Australian Retailers Association (ARA) executive director Russell Zimmerman said the June rise is linked to an increase in business confidence.

“Business confidence often falls after the federal budget, however, this increase shows greater strength in the market, giving retailers much-needed assurance to invest in their businesses and execute product strategies,” he said.

“We believe this [will] grow further with the Federal Government’s company tax cuts coming into play again in the Senate in a few weeks’ time.”


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