Trends provide “glimmer of light” for food retailers

Posted by Editorial on 30th September 2008

A turnover increase of 0.3% for August was outlined in today’s release of retail trade trend estimates, with food retail one of the leading performers.

According to the Australian Retail Association’s Executive Director, Richard Evans, the increase in August 2008 retail trade is notice for Canberra to hold a steady hand to the wheel of government and provide confidence to the community. “The August Retail Trade Trends are only a glimmer of light for retailers who have been suffering for most of the year after ten years of economic sunshine came to an end,” he said. “But the damage caused by decreases in retail sales and turnover will require positive narrative from Canberra and a government focus on economic conditions.”

“It’s positive that the largest increases in the trend were for the industries which have been suffering the most (clothing and soft good retailing, food retailing and cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services all +0.5%), but retailers are still concerned about the economic climate,” he added. “Recently released figures in the September ARA Australian Retailers Index revealed that retail SMEs are more worried than any other sector, with confidence falling 34 percentage points compared to the same time last year.”

CEO of the Australian National Retailers Association, Margy Osmond, suggested that the trend figures indicate positive growth is on the horizon. “The latest ABS retail figures reveal the September quarter should see retail trade return to positive numbers for the first time in 2008,”  Mrs Osmond said. “After two months of the September quarter, retailers can be cautiously optimistic that consumer spending is recovering.”

“Food retailing experienced the biggest growth of 4.4 per cent for the 12 months to August,” Mrs Osmond noted.

“These retail figures don’t take into account the September interest rate cuts, which may give consumer confidence a boost.”