Post-Christmas Australian Retail Index

By Grant Arnott | 11 Jan 2016

The Australian Retail Index showed solid growth over December, with most sectors performing well.

The Australian Retail Index delivered by Retail Express and BDO reported 5 percent growth across the fashion, sporting, furniture, and general retail sectors compared with last year.

“Retailers are happily counting their tills this year, with the Christmas sales trade being a success for most Australian retailers,” said Aaron Blackman, CEO of Retail Express. “Substantial growth was experienced across the board in most retail verticals.”

Sporting goods retail experienced the largest lift throughout each week of December reporting an impressive 15 percent growth on November and a 14 percent growth on December 2014.

December 2015 compared with December 2014.

December 2015 compared with December 2014.

“The retail sporting sector — which includes camping, games and hobbies — has experienced some turbulent sales activity over the past six months, so an increase over this period was a great relief for many retailers,” Blackman said.

The general retail sector — which includes gift stores, health and leisure goods — came in a close second with 8 percent growth on the same period last year.

“Taken together, these two sectors [sporting and general] cover the Australian gift-giving realm almost perfectly. Australian shoppers voted with their wallets this year and took to the high streets in droves, a clear sign of improved confidence in the economy,” Blackman said.

Fashion saw an overall drop of 2 percent for December, compared with last year. However, all was not lost as the fashion sector saw 12 percent growth moving into December from November.

The furniture segment had a slow start to the December with a drop in sales of almost 8 percent but picked up the pace and closed out the month a fraction above midline with 1.5 percent growth compared with December 2014.

Boxing Day in particular greatly magnified the disparity between the sectors, especially the fashion sector, which endured an 18.5 percent loss on the same period last year.

Shoppers flocked to the stores after Christmas as the furniture, sporting and general sectors combined showed a 9 percent increase on last year’s Boxing Day.

“Boxing Day sales for fashion and accessories were not as expected and revealed that 2014 was the bigger year for the fashion sector,” Blackman said.

Boxing Day 2015 compared with Boxing Day 2014.

Boxing Day 2015 compared with Boxing Day 2014.

As expected, leading into Christmas, laybys and refunds decreased in December until Christmas and then shot up in the last week of December as gifts were refunded leading out of the Boxing Day sales period.

26-30 Dec compared with 20-24 Dec 2015.

26-30 Dec compared with 20-24 Dec 2015.

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