ABS retail trade figures show growth waning

The July retail trade figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed  consumer spending grew in categories including clothing, footwear and personal accessories, department stores and cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services. Food retailing was unchanged for the month and household goods retailing and other retailing fell. Overall, the results showed a 0.2% increase in trend terms but a 0.1% fall seasonally adjusted.

Also in seasonally adjusted terms Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory enjoyed increases in spending, while New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory all went backwards. Tasmania was unchanged.

While the 0.1% fall in seasonally adjusted spending was not surprising, given the very strong rise of 0.6% in June, the  National Retail Association has warned that,“Today’s numbers are a very clear warning that the good times won’t last forever, and we need to act now”. CEO Trevor Evans said the July figures showed the steady growth in retail of the past two years may be waning.

“Today’s figures reflect the results for the overall economy released yesterday, which show that Australia is still growing but not as strongly as it could be,” Mr Evans said.

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