The Australian Retailers Association has welcomed the 0.3 percent monthly boost in January retail sales but has warned that retailers needed lasting relief rather than the short term reprieve of “sales hype”.
In a statement released after the publication of the ABS’s latest retail turnover report, ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said that although the latest figures provided some good news for retailers, the boost was a reflection of the current consumer trend of waiting for bargains before pouncing to spend.
“It’s still a sad state of affairs when the only way to entice consumers is to discount heavily and stir up a shopping frenzy,” he said.
“Retailers need lasting relief rather than the short term reprieve brought about by sales hype.
“Department stores have again seen disappointing results, facing a year-on-year decline (-3.3 percent) and also losing out month-on-month, which shows non-food retailers are still struggling overall.
“Good retailers are innovating for business success in response to changing consumer demand, as we have seen this week with announcements from retailers like David Jones and Woolworths of clear and aggressive online sales strategies.
“However, retailers need room to innovate during tough conditions with relief from weak consumer sentiment through manageable interest rates and a hold on taxes and charges that increase business expenses and take cash away from consumers.”
According to the ABS, Australian retail turnover rose 0.3 percent in January following a fall of 0.1 percent in December.