Retail sales still slow but heading in right direction, according to ABS

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Retail sales remain slow according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), with a slight rise in turnover for January 2019.

According to the ABS, seasonally adjusted turnover rose by a modest 0.1 per cent, compared to a 0.4 per cent nosedive recorded for December 2018.

National Retail Association (NRA) CEO Dominque Lamb said that although there were mixed results for the sector, things do at least seem to be heading in the right direction.

“The ABS data for January 2019 is modest overall, however it is a significant improvement on the December 2018 results,” Ms Lamb said.

“While January (2019) hasn’t proved to be a ground-breaking month by any stretch, on the plus side it does indicate that retail is slowly picking itself up and heading in the right direction.

Ms Lamb also said that the ABS results justified the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) decision to leave interest rates on hold at a record low 1.5 per cent.

“Following today’s (March 7 2019) ABS results the NRA absolutely supports the decision of the RBA to keep interest rates on hold at a record low,” Ms Lamb said.

“Clearly rates need to be kept low for longer in order to grow wages that will ultimately boost household income and consumer spending.

According to the NRA, the January 2019 results also demonstrate the need to focus on consumer spending ahead of the upcoming Federal Budget on April 2 2019.

“It is less than a month before the Federal Budget and it’s vital that the most important economic statement of the year focuses on encouraging consumer spending.

“Measures such as tax cuts, infrastructure spending and initiatives that ease the burden on small business can all help improve the economy and assist retail in getting out of this sluggish phase it’s experiencing.”

Source: NRA

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