The National Retail Association (NRA) has said that the retail trade results for December 2018, released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), shows the urgent need for measures that support small businesses in the sector.
NRA CEO Dominique Lamb said that although the results for the overall Christmas period were slightly up on 2017, the December 2018 figures were below what was anticipated.
“Before people start hitting the panic buttons, it should be pointed out that retail sales figures for the entire Christmas trade period were slightly above the 2017 results. Having said that, the December (2018) results released by the ABS are well below what was anticipated,” Ms Lamb said.
“Given we are just months out from a federal election, these results should serve as a warning to all sides of politics that parts of the retail sector are struggling as we enter 2019.
“Retail is the second biggest sector in the Australian economy, so when it goes through a challenging period there is a knock-on effect throughout the economy.
“While the retail community certainly doesn’t look to government for all the answers, it is during slow periods such as these that measures are required that assist small business.
“The NRA welcomed the Government’s announcement to extend the instant asset write-off and we also appreciate Labor’s policy to make the scheme permanent.
“But there is still more that can be done to help small business thrive in areas right across industrial relations and we hope to see policies ahead of the upcoming federal election that support small business.”
The December 2018 ABS results reveal that throughout the entire Christmas trade period – half of November 2018 and all of December 2018 – Australians spent $48.7 billion on retail sales, compared to $47.5 billion in 2017.