ABS Statistics Reflect Disappointing October Sales

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released retail trade figures for October turnover, revealing what many already know: sales aren’t skyrocketing.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released October retail turnover figures, indicating rather disappointing growth of 0.5 percent, following a promising September period (0.9 percent growth).

While October is traditionally a quiet period for retailers, with consumers not beginning to ramp up Christmas shopping until November, Australian retailers have been hoping for greater stability following the Federal election.

ABS reports that food retailing rose 0.5 percent in October, hospitality gaining 1.2 percent, other retailing also growing 0.5 and footwear and personal accessories up 0.6 percent. These gains were partially offset by losses in department stores (-0.3 percent), while household goods remained largely unchanged.

As expected, the less-than-exciting industry figures have retail advocacy groups calling once again for the interest rates to be cut by the Reserve Bank (RBA). A move that may encourage added spending, but isn’t necessarily considered fiscally sensible by many economists.

“What the retail sector needs now is for the Reserve Bank of Australia to cut interest rates when they meet this afternoon, in order to encourage consumers to let go of their purse strings as they begin their Christmas shopping,” said Russell Zimmerman, Australian Retailers Association (ARA) Executive Director. “Retailers fear that another rate stay may put a dampener on Christmas sales.”

However, with the official interest rate already reduced to an all-time low, it seems highly unlikely the RBA will do anything other than sit on its hands today.

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