Encouraging retail figures

The Australian Bureau of Statistics is giving retail a shot in the arm with the release of its seasonally-adjusted figures for May, showing  a growth of 2.3 percent over May 2012.

The ABS says the largest contributor to the month on month rise in May 2013 was other retailing, at 0.8 per cent; followed by food retailing, 0.2 per cent; department stores, 0.8 per cent; and clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing, 0.4 per cent.

Western Australia saw the highest growth in spending up by 1.6 per cent; followed by Queensland, 0.5 per cent; South Australia, 0.6 per cent; Tasmania, 0.6 per cent; and Northern Territory, 0.8 per cent.

Falls were recorded for May over April in NSW , Victoria, and the ACT.

Over the long term, NSW remains the strongest contributor to growth, up 0.4 per cent in trend terms, says the ABS.

• National Australia Bank's  latest online retail sales index released last week showed Australians spent $13.5 billion online in the year to April 2013, up from $11.2 billion for the same period last year.

Regional Australia is gradually closing the gap with metropolitan areas. According to the NAB report, growth rates between the two have not only narrowed in recent months, but regional Australia has generally outperformed the metropolitan areas over the past two years.

Online sales were equivalent to six percent of traditional retail spending for the year to March 2013, up from 5.2 percent for the same time last year. The rate of online spending has strengthened – growing at 23 percent year-on-year.

Australia's online spending continues to be dominated by those aged 35 to 44, at around a quarter of all purchases, while those aged 25 to 34 and 45 to 54 each spending around 20 percent of the total.

Domestic retailers remain the dominant force in online retail sales, accounting for 72 percent of sales in April 2013. Trends in the growth rates for both international and domestic online retail sales have been fairly uniform since the start of 2012.

Image: Mei + Picchi

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