“Subdued” Australian food and grocery retail sales but forecasts for improvement in 2012

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 1st February 2012

The Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) has issued the AFGC CHEP Retail Sales Index, as at January 30 2012, which forecasts continued subdued growth for Australia’s retail sector in the March quarter, traditionally one of the slowest trading periods of the year.

According to the retail index issued, based on supply chain activity for the month of December 2011, retail trade activity increased by 3.1 percent year on year compared with December 2010

Forecasted retail activity is predicted to increase by 2.1 percent for February 2012 year on year, and by 2.2 percent for the March 2012 quarter.

The European sovereign debt crisis is an ongoing issue and creating global economic uncertainty and unemployment growth stagnating and consumer confidence is expected to remain relatively conservative.

AFGC Chief Executive Kate Carnell says, “During this highly challenging and subdued retailing environment, Australian retailers and manufacturers are focusing on planning and operational execution through the supply chain by removing inefficiencies and delays”.

Ms Carnell also states that retailers and suppliers are working together to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes through understanding the pressure points and putting in place alternative arrangements that reduce costs and ensure product supply.

However, Mr Philip Austin, President of CHEP Australia New Zealand says that, “While AFGC CHEP Retail Index results projected continued year on year growth in the quarter ending in March, retail trade is not out of the woods yet”.

The AFGC CHEP Retail Index is published quarterly, and the next announcement is due in late April 2012.