The retail sector has continued its slow year following the release of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) report which showed soft sales figures for the month of August 2018.
The ABS report shows a small rise in turnover of 0.3 per cent, making it the weakest back-to-back results for 2018.
Acting National Retail Association (NRA) CEO Lindsay Carroll said the report shows the need for the sector to not be complacent ahead of Christmas.
“The August ABS retail figures are far from disastrous, but they do show that the sector is continuing to experience a modest sales period,” Ms Carroll said.
“The August report is certainly an improvement on July 2018, with five of the six retail industries recording a rise in turnover, and all state and territories bar the Northern Territory seeing an increase in sales.
Ms Carroll said the ABS figures further emphasised the need for governments to put in place retail friendly measures ahead of Christmas.
“Given this is the weakest back-to-back monthly sales result for the whole of 2018, it’s very important that we don’t get complacent ahead of the most important period of the year, especially with increases to Saturday and evening penalty rates being phased-in for casual employees in retail from 1 November 2018,” Ms Carroll said.
“With consumer confidence still a little fragile at present, the NRA welcomed the news when the RBA refused to increase interest rates. A rise in the cash rate at this point would only result in shoppers having less money in their back pocket to spend.
“We also urge state governments to put in place extended trading hours during the Christmas period so that Aussie retailers can take full advantage of consumer demand during the festive season.”
By industry the biggest rises were in Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food (0.7 per cent), Clothing (0.8 per cent), and Department stores (0.9 per cent). On a state basis South Australia recorded the biggest increase in turnover (0.8 per cent), while the Northern Territory experiences the biggest fall (-1.3 per cent).