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Online Revenue Boosts Measly Retail Growth in August

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By Published On: October 5, 20180 Comments

The latest retail trade figures reveal industry growth in August was disappointing, but still up from July’s unchanged figure of 0.0 percent.

According to the ABS, retail turnover in July was stagnant with a growth of 0.0 percent, but August has performed slightly better, experiencing a 0.3 percent boost.
August’s performance was driven by clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing at 0.8 percent, department stores at 0.9 percent, and household goods retailing at 0.2 percent.
In line with previous monthly performance, Ben James, the director of quarterly economy-wide surveys at the ABS, says the hospitality industry also contributed to August’s retail trade figures.
“Cafes, restaurant and takeaway food services led the rises,” he said in a statement.
Most of the country experienced some form of growth, however small, except for Western Australia where trade was stagnant and the Northern Territory who recorded a decline of 1.3 percent.
According to the National Retail Association’s Acting CEO, Lindsay Carroll, August’s results are a sign the sector needs to act quickly to make the most of the upcoming holiday period.
“The August ABS retail figures are far from disastrous, but they do show that the sector is continuing to experience a modest sales period,” Carroll said.
“Given this is the weakest back-to-back monthly sales result for the whole of 2018, it’s very important that we don’t get complacent ahead of the most important period of the year, especially with increases to Saturday and evening penalty rates being phased-in for casual employees in retail from 1 November.”
While bricks-and-mortar growth was slow across the board, online retail turnover is still on the rise, with e-commerce contributing to 5.6 percent of Australia’s total retail revenue in August, up from 5.5 percent in July. Year-on-year, a visible trend towards online shopping is visible, with the ABS recording an online contribution of only 4.6 percent for the same time last year.
The ABS’ results are in line with financial results reported by a number of large Australian businesses, with Premier Investments brands’ experiencing strong online growth in the last financial year, reaching its online sales target 18-months ahead of schedule. Kathmandu has also praised its digital channels for a 36 percent sales increase in FY2018.
Online only businesses like Temple & Webster have also been reaping the benefits of Australia’s growing e-commerce industry, with the homewares retailer posting a 24 percent growth in revenue result in Q4 2018.
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