Small retailers expecting a flat 2012

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After predictions of dismal Christmas and New Year sales were realised by smaller retailers across the country, many say they’re expecting 2012 to be another flat year for trade.

Research by the Australian Gift and Homewares Association found its members experienced the same tough trading conditions as many of the bigger retail players.

Some 47 percent of the AGHA’s members recorded lower monetary value from customer purchases made in December 2011 compared with the same month in 2010.

Forty eight percent also said customers purchased less in dollar value during the post-Christmas sales (26 Dec 2011 – 30 Jan 2012), as compared to the same period in 2010-11, while 26 percent said customers purchased around about the same in dollar terms.

Looking ahead into 2012, 46 percent believe the value of customer purchases for the first quarter of 2012 will be lower than that of the same period in 2011, continuing the flat sales trend.

AGHA CEO David Leek said the results show retailers are continuing to tread water in tough times.

“While interest rate cuts are always welcome news for retailers who rely on consumers’ discretionary spending, the fact that two interest rate cuts late in 2011 seemingly did little to boost consumer spending in the immediate months following demonstrates that the industry needs to be doing more than just relying on cuts to the official cash rate to boost trade,” he said.

The majority of the AGHA’s members are SMBs with an average annual turnover of $334,000.

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