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March growth figures bypass Aussie clothing retailers
May '12
Peak retail industry body the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) said retailers' confidence would be buoy by the 0.9 percent month on month and 3.7 percent year on year growth reported in ABS retail trade figures, even though clothing retailers and department stores hadn't reaped the benefits of the boost and instead continued to struggle with soft sales.

ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said the boost in retail trade might be an early sign of recovery for the sector, however relief for both business and consumers was still needed as figures showed weak growth in key discretionary categories.

“Despite some welcome news of an increase in consumer spend, the category breakdown shows confidence hasn't extended to discretionary spend, with year on year growth across the clothing and footwear (0.4%) as well as department store (1.4%) categories still weak and below the rate of inflation.

“Retailers will be looking for further interest rate cuts over the coming months with even more taxes and charges expected to hit both retail and consumer confidence.

“Retailers are hoping fiscal restraint by the Federal Government tomorrow will lead to further monetary stimulation by the Reserve Bank.

“The hope is the 2012- 13 budget to be announced tomorrow will boost retailers through tax and red tape changes for both consumers and business which will cause further retail sales growth.

“Retailers will be hoping any attempts to reach budget surplus won't be achieved through extra taxes or charges on consumers at a time when spend needs to be stimulated not stifled.

“As has been the trend over the past few months, strong year on year growth in the 'other retailing' category (6%), which includes miscellaneous retailers and pure play online, shows a further breakdown of this category is necessary for retailers to get a clearer picture on where opportunities are to compete and innovate further,” Zimmerman said.

Monthly Retail Growth (February 2012 – March 2012) Household goods retailing (0.4%), Food retailing (0.9%), Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (2%), Other retailing (0.5%), Department stores (0.7%) and Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (1.6%). Total sales (0.9%)

Western Australia (1.2%), Victoria (1.3%), South Australia (0.6%), Northern Territory (0.4%), Queensland (0.2%), Tasmania (0.5%), New South Wales (1.2%) and the Australian Capital Territory (1.5%)

Year-On-Year Retail Growth (March 2011- March 2012) Clothing, footwear & personal accessory retailing (0.4%), department stores (1.4%), cafes, restaurants & takeaways (7.6%), other retailing (6%), food retailing (4.1%) and household goods retailing (0.6 %), Total sales ( 3.7%).

New South Wales (1.1%), Queensland (5.2%), Western Australia (10.7%), Victoria (3.6%), South Australia (0.8%), Tasmania (2.2%), Australian Capital Territory (2.9%), Northern Territory (3.4%),total sales (3.7%).

Since 1903 the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has been the peak industry body representing Australia's $240 billion retail sector which employs over 1.2 million people.

Australian Retailers Association (ARA)

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