ARA: Santa brings 'pleasing' retail growth

Australian retailers saw a jolly "incredibly pleasing" Christmas last year, reports the Australian Retailers Association.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics' official retail turnover figures for December 2015 grew by four percent year-on-year.

This growth backs up a 4.2 percent year on year growth in November 2015, with Christmas gift buying at the heart of the boost in trade. Total retail spend for December 2015 was $24.8 billion.

Year-on-year figures provide the most accurate measure of the sector's performance and are the figures used by most retail businesses in their own reporting, says the ARA.

December 2015 sales showed no increase over November, a result Executive Director, Russell Zimmerman attributes to soaring temperatures following initial Boxing Day trade.

"Australian retailers will be very pleased with the annual increase in shoppers' spend in December," he says.

"It is the biggest month in the retail calendar in terms of sales and this considerable boost finishes off a year of strong increases for the industry.

"We hope the trend of steady growth will continue throughout 2016, with many retailers well positioned to leverage off these improvements with new innovations across online, omni-channel, and bricks and mortar stores," he says.

"I think we'll see 2016 become a year of business evolution for retail, with a host of digitally-based advancements enabling the merging of the online and offline shopping worlds into a more seamless experience."

Victoria saw the lion's share of growth on a state basis at 5.5 percent, with Tasmania continuing its strong growth of the past few months, increasing sales by 5.2 per cent.

The category of clothing, footwear and personal accessories grew by 4.5 percent, reports the ABS.

  • The NAB Online Retail Sales Index indicates that e-commerce sales increased 11.2 percent on December 2014.

A total of 1$9.1 billion was spent online in 2015 according to NAB, 6.6 percent of the total retail market.

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