Qld retail trade up 0.3pc

Expectations for bumper post-Christmas sales trade dampened by unenthused consumers and floods, says ARA

Qld retail trade up 0.3pc
Qld retail trade up 0.3pc
By Jayne Munday | March 1, 2011

Retailers hoping for a bumper post-Christmas sales trade may be disappointed by the marginal increase in New Year turnover, according to industry.

As reported by the ABS today, Queensland’s retail trade nudged up 0.3 percent in January, while national levels rose by 0.4 percent on the back of a positive result from the food sector.

This follows a 0.7 percent and 0.6 percent rise in Queensland in November and December respectively.

While dubbed a "sluggish" start to the year by the Australian Retailers Association (ARA), it is an improvement on the 0.9 percent decrease reported in October, 2010.

Nationally, food retailing (2.5 percent), other retailing (2.1 percent) and department stores (2.3 percent) recorded rises in January.

Turnover fell in household goods retailing (-4.6 percent), clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (-2.5 percent) and cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (-0.3 percent).

In light of recent floods and other natural disasters, ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman says retail trade could have been worse, but admits it is still a "sluggish" start to the New Year.

"Heavy discounting before Christmas also diluted the excitement and frenzy that traditionally surrounds post-Christmas sales, with retail trade across the board for January 2011 only 1.8 percent compared to the same time the year before," Zimmerman says.

He says this signals yet another posting of year-on-year growth well below the rate of inflation.

"Looking forward to February which is traditionally the toughest month for the sector, retailers aren’t expecting much change to consumer spend as over 50 percent of frugal consumers plan on spending less in 2011 and 30 percent said they would spend less due to anticipated flood levies."

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