The one per cent growth in retail turnover for May reflected the positive economic indicators in the market and continued the strong and steady growth since the beginning of the year.
Australian Retailers Association (ARA) executive director Richard Evans said the strong May retail trade (NSW 0.0 per cent, VIC 0.7 per cent, QLD 1.5 per cent, SA 1.8 per cent, WA 3.5 per cent, TAS -0.1 per cent, NT 0.0 per cent, ACT 1.8 per cent) was more welcome news for retailers who are recovering from the damage of over 12 months of reduced consumer demand.
"Looking back over the past months, there has been solid retail trade growth in each month, with the exception of February which is traditionally the toughest month for retailers," said Evans.
"The May retail trade reflects the rise in consumer confidence and other positive indicators including the Government’s economic stimuli and the RBA’s interest rate cuts from late last year flowing through.”
Evans said that a new type of consumer is beginning to re-enter the market – a consumer who is cashed-up and ready to spend without guilt after months of apprehension about letting go of discretionary spend.
"Growth in clothing and soft goods retailing (2.9 per cent) and department stores (5.5 per cent) reflects the change of season and we expect to see some more recovery in this sector when June stocktake sale figures are released.
"Retailers remain optimistic about improved growth in the September quarter with the rest of the economy lagging three to six months. If the type of retail trade we have seen for most of the year continues, December year-on-year growth could be well above expectations," said Evans.