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Retail turnover rises

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Retail turnover saw another small rise in March, up 0.3 per cent following a 0.7 per cent climb in February 2015.

The seasonally adjusted figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today pointed at department stores as the largest contributor to the overall rise with 3.8 per cent. Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing contributed with a 2.2 per cent rise, followed by food retailing (0.4 per cent) and other retailing (0.1 per cent).

Seasonally adjusted falls were seen in household goods retailing (-1.0 per cent) and cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (-1.1 per cent).

Queensland saw the highest rise among the nation’s states, registering a 0.7 per cent climb. Tasmania (0.5 per cent), New South Wales (0.3 per cent), South Australia (0.3 per cent) and Victoria (0.2 per cent) followed. The Northern Territory saw the biggest fall with -0.8 per cent, while the ACT registered a seasonally adjusted fall of -0.5 per cent and Western Australia a fall of -0.3 per cent.

National Retail Association (NRA) CEO Trevor Evans cited the RBA rate cut in February as one of the reasons behind the rise in retail turnover.

“Some of the additional money in people’s pockets from that decision has flowed into the economy, and it is helping to continue the modest but steady growth we have seen in retail over the last 18 months,” Mr Evans said.

“We hope that this trend will continue with this week’s rate cut, and that these positive figures will give both consumers and businesses much-needed confidence in the future.”

Russell Zimmerman, Executive of the Australian Retailers Association, called the new figures “a great sign for the industry” and said retailers will be looking to the upcoming Federal Budget for support.

“While a reduction in interest rates (announced yesterday by the RBA) is always welcomed, this alone is not enough to ensure the success of the retail industry over the next few months,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“Low interest rates are acting to support borrowing and spending, however, business growth must still be supported with a solid plan in the upcoming Federal Budget.”