ANRA: retail growth is 'no false dawn'

Consumers have fought off January’s traditional post-Christmas spending slump to record the strongest annual sales growth since November 2009, according to Australian National Retailers Association’s analysis of the January retail figures released this week.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ retail figures showing an increase of 1.2 per cent in January compared to December.  December’s figure was also seasonally adjusted to record an increase of 0.7 percent.

Throughout the year to January, retail turnover rose 6.2 per cent.

Says ANRA chief executive Margy Osmond, “We are starting to see real momentum now, it’s pleasing to see the sector return to the long term average growth rate of around six per cent.

“Discretionary spend retailers will welcome this month’s turn of events in which monthly gains were driven by the non-food sector – up 1.7 percent.

“This is a great result for non-food retailers which have experienced patchier conditions than the food sector during the recovery in retail spending.” 

Osmond says significant growth for clothing, footwear and accessories (up 1.1%) is “encouraging.”

Most states recorded gains in January with the exception of Western Australia and the ACT (down 0.3 percent) and the ACT (down 1.9 percent).

Says Osmond, “This result provides further evidence that the sector has momentum and looks more sustainable that some of the false dawns we’ve seen in the past three or four years.”

• Meanwhile, Australia’s online retail spending increased to $14.9 billion for the year to January 2014, or by 11.3 percent, now representing around 6.5 percent of traditional retail spending.

Domestic retailers continue to control the largest share of online sales – at around 74 percent, reports the NAB monthly survey.

Despite a recent pickup in the traditional bricks and mortar retail sector, it was still outpaced by the improvement in online retail growth over the past three months.

However, recent online growth has been more subdued than the 20-30 percent growth rates recorded in earlier years.

A substantial gap now exists between the stronger growth in domestic online retailing, and the virtual stall in growth in international online sales, which is probably currency related, reports NAB.

Pictured: the classy 2XU store in Sydney's Mosman

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