Food retailing, which includes the FMCG category that many POPAI ANZ members play in, saw year on year growth of 2.65% in March.
In lieu of February’s lacklustre trade figures, Australian Retailers Association (ARA) Executive Director, Russell Zimmerman, said the disappointing statistics for March are a symptom of escalating operating costs and systemic economic pressures faced by Australia’s retail industry.
“The generally weak trade figures across the board appear to be caused by myriad of factors including low consumer confidence, political uncertainty, international competition and the effects of housing affordability on hip pockets.”
“These broader economic issues, combined with a number of challenges within the retail operating environment, are serving to stagnate rather than stimulate growth in the sector.” Mr Zimmerman said.
The prolonged warm weather during March also had an effect on specific retail categories, with Clothing Retailing cexperiencing a negative growth of -1.62% year on year as shoppers restrained from filling their wardrobes for the cooler months ahead.
Cafes, Restaurant & Takeaway Food Retailing (4.81%)also showed a decline in year on year trade growth, an outcome of reduced consumer confidence resulting in a hesitation to spend on non-essential items or experiences.
In regard to state-based figures, New South Wales (3.07%), Victoria (2.84%), Australian Capital Territory (3.09%) and South Australia (3.33%) showed relatively stable, albeit modest, year-on-year growth.
On the other hand, there is an apparent slowdown in year-on-year retail growth across Queensland (0.86%), Western Australia (0.20%), Tasmania (1.71%) and Northern Territory (-1.00%).
“As a critical part of the national economy, and the largest private sector for employment within Australia, we are hopeful of a practical package to preserve the viability of the retail industry," Mr Zimmerman said,
YEAR-ON-YEAR RETAIL GROWTH (March 2016 – March 2017 seasonally adjusted)
New South Wales (3.07%), Victoria (2.84%), Queensland (0.86%), South Australia (3.33%), Western Australia (0.20%), Tasmania (1.71%), Northern Territory (-1.00%) and Australian Capital Territory (3.09%).
Food retailing (2.62%), Household goods retailing (0.56%), Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (0.56%), Department stores (-2.77%), Other retailing (3.26%) and Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (4.81).