The first month of the new financial year was a disappointing one for retail with trade figures flatlining for July 2018 according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
Not only did retail turnover remain unchanged at 0.0 per cent, but there were also falls in three of the six industries and six states and territories recorded a sales drop in seasonally adjusted terms.
NRA CEO Dominique Lamb said it was important that consumer confidence is restored as the sector prepares to head into the Christmas trade period.
“There’s no need to hit the panic button just yet, but the July 2018 figures released by the ABS are certainly very ordinary,” Ms Lamb said.
“Retail had enjoyed three consecutive months of growth, so it is very disappointing to see the figures flatline for July 2018.
“Consumer confidence is a little fragile at present, so the NRA would urge the RBA to keep interest rates low for the time being.
“Within the next six months there are state elections in both Victoria and New South Wales, not to mention a federal poll also taking place between now and May 2019. We know people spend less during election periods due to the uncertainty, so we can’t get complacent with the Christmas trade period just around the corner.”
Seasonally adjusted there were falls in Household goods (-1.2 per cent), Clothing (-2.0 per cent) and Department stores (-1.9 per cent). These results were offset by rises in Other retailing (1.7 per cent), Food (0.3 per cent) and Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food (0.6 per cent).