ARA: Latest retail trade figures set stage for Christmas

Spending patterns for Australian consumers have been choppy over the past few months, with winners and

losers, but the overall picture for Australian retail is one of resilience, according to the Australian Retailers

Association (ARA).

ARA CEO Paul Zahra said the ABS preliminary retail trade figures can be interpreted with a sense of optimism

for the all-important Christmas trading period.

“The figures show back to back drops in August and September. We interpret this as an adjustment or

normalisation to the trend, which if you strip out the volatility of the past few months, has been quite strong,” Mr

Zahra said.

“Retail trade was up 5.2 per cent in September, compared to a year ago. And when you look at the September

quarter, those figures were up 6.8 per cent on year. This is a strong trend that we believe is setting us up for a

cautiously optimistic Christmas shopping season.

“No surprise that Victoria was the only state or territory to trade below last year’s September performance. The

situation can only improve for Victorian retail now Melbourne retail is days away from opening, just in time for

Christmas trading which kicks off in earnest after Melbourne Cup.

“Australian retailers make up to two-thirds of their profits during the Christmas period, and with Victoria opening

up just in time, and continued government support in the form of tapered JobKeeper and JobSeeker, we expect

to see reasonably positive data points during the Christmas period compared to last year.

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, but it may not be the typical Christmas that we’re all used to. We’re

encouraging shoppers to get in early on your shopping lists to avoid any disappointments on Christmas day. A

Covid-safe Christmas will require more planning for us all,” said Mr Zahra.

Key Statistics:

ABS Preliminary Retail Trade, Sept 2020

Sept MoM – 1.5%

Sept YoY +5.2%

Sept Qtr +6.8%

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