The 0.5 percent rise in May retail sales is cold comfort to retailers, according to the Australian Retailers Association.
ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman said the monthly boost in the ABS’s retail trade figures was welcome news for retailers in discretionary spend categories but could largely be attributed to “consumers shopping for the colder weather”.
“Cool May weather in the southern states is a reason for the spike in trade figures we have seen,” he said.
“Categories which rely on consumer discretionary spend such as department stores, clothing and footwear and household goods have enjoyed a modest boost for the first time in quite a few months.
“The current reality for retailers is every time there is a modest boost such as this increased economic pressure creates a barrier to any continuation of the trend, which is why the ARA is still predicting slow to zero growth in trade for the rest of the year.
“Families have recently been hit hard with more financial pressure as a result of the Carbon Tax, which the ARA does not believe has been adequately compensated for.”
According to the ABS’s latest retail trade figures, the majority of industries recorded a rise in May − cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (1.4 percent), household goods retailing (0.8 percent), other retailing (0.7 percent), department stores (1 percent) and clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (0.5 percent).
From a state perspective NSW (0.7 percent) recorded its third consecutive monthly rise while WA (1.1 percent) remains the strongest performing state over the longer term. Victoria (0.5 percent), Queensland (0.5 percent) and the NT (1.6 percent) also recorded rises in May while SA (-0.6 percent), Tasmania (-1.0 percent) and the ACT (-0.1 percent) recorded falls.