Skip to content


Retail shows positive signs ahead of all-important Christmas trading period


December 6, 2018

The retail sector has recorded a steady increase in sales during October, as business owners look for signs of strengthening consumer confidence ahead of the vital Christmas trading period.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today reported a positive increase of 0.3 per cent in total sales nationwide during October, seasonally adjusted – an encouraging step up from the 0.1 per cent result in September.

National Retail Association (NRA) Deputy CEO Lindsay Carroll said while the result did not show a booming retail sector, the increase from September was encouraging as businesses geared up for Christmas.

“Retail business owners rely very heavily on the pre-Christmas and Boxing Day sales periods to sustain them during the quieter parts of the year,” Ms Carroll said.

“This is also the time when the retail sector is able to create additional jobs or provide more hours to existing workers.  That can only happen if the cash registers are ringing in the leadup to Christmas.

“So although we would ideally like to see monthly positive increases of 0.4 or even 0.5 per cent, we welcome the fact that these numbers are trending in the right direction as we head towards Christmas.”

The ABS reported that clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing recorded the strongest result, with positive growth of 2.6 per cent.  Household goods (0.6 per cent), the “other retailing” category (0.5 per cent), department stores (0.4 per cent) and food retailing (0.2 per cent) also enjoyed increases during the month.  The only category to fall was cafes, restaurants and takeaway food, which was down by 0.9 per cent.

Queensland and the ACT were the strongest performing jurisdictions, with increases of 1.1 per cent. Victoria, Western Australia and the Northern Territory (0.6 per cent), and South Australia and Tasmania all experienced growth.  New South Wales recorded a fall in turnover of 0.4 per cent.

The National Retail Association is Australia’s largest and most representative retail industry association.  It has been serving businesses in the retail and fast food sectors for close to 100 years.