Retail trade maintains weak upward trend

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 2nd May 2008

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released the March estimate of retail trade. The trend estimates for retail trade were again positive with a .2% rise in March to go with similar rises in January and February this year.

Victoria, Queensland, the Northern Territory and South Australia have all witnessed moderate growth in the food retail sector for the last three months but these moderate rises have been offset by declines in trend estimates for the past four months in New South Wales and Tasmania. Consequently, a weak trend growth in the Australian food retail industry has been recorded for the fifth straight month. Western Australia was in line with the national data by experiencing mild growth, and, overall the national data suggests food retail trade is rising at a slightly quicker speed than overall retail, with a .3% increase in March estimated by the ABS.

Food retailing was one of only two industries in the retail sector to have a positive seasonally adjusted sales figure for the month.

Turnover for the retail industry was up 3% compared to March 2007 with the large retailers recording a 6.3% rise while smaller retailers didn’t fare so well, experiencing a 1.4% decline.

There was a total increase of .5% in retail trade when trends were not taken into account. This figure was slightly above the .2% figure forecast by many economists but is not expected to result in the RBA increasing interest rates at their next meeting in May. Food retail contributed largely to the .5% figure with a 1.7% increase for the month; economists attributed the rise to the increasing global food prices rather than higher sales and demand.