ABS report: Department stores and clothing soaring

The Australian retail sector has continued to soar accordingly to a report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, with department stores and clothing leading the way.

Turnover within the sector saw an increase of 0.4 per cent in May 2018, with department stores and clothing seeing rises of 3.9 per cent and 2.2 per cent respectively.

The results mark the second successive month of solid sales for the sector after a poor start to 2018.

Dominique Lamb, CEO of the National Retail Association said that the transition to the colder months had helped department stores and clothing outlets rebound strongly following the poor results in prior to April.

“Retail has now recorded two consecutive months of solid rises in turnover and we’re optimistic that it means that the sector has turned the corner following a modest start to 2018,” Lamb said.

Lamb suggested that the results signal a return to more meaningful growth within the sector.

“The April figures were a relief after sales stalled in the opening months of 2018, but the May results are hopefully a sign that retail is about to kick on and have a successful second half to 2018,” Lamb said.

“It’s particularly pleasing to see department stores as well as clothing, footwear and personal accessories bounce back in May. This can be put down to the cold weather beginning to arrive after an unusually warm autumn period.”

Earlier this month, Inside Retail reported that growth in the sector was expected to slow slightly in the second half of 2018, before strengthening as wage growth begins to pick up.

David Rumbens, Deloitte Access Economics partner, forecasted a modest lift in real retail turnover from 2.4 per cent in 2017/18 to 2.6 per cent in 2018-19.

“We’re expecting conditions to get more supportive for retailers over time,” Rumbens said.

Lamb believes the new report from the ABS strengthens this prediction, with room for growth within the sector becoming more readily available.

“The NRA expects to see department stores and clothing sales continue to rise in the coming months as Aussies flock to the shops to cash in on winter shopping bargains,” Lamb said.

Across the state and territories, the highest rises occurred in Tasmania (1.5 per cent) and South Australia (1.4 per cent), with only Western Australia experiencing a fall in turnover (0.5 per cent).