The official retail sales figures for December 2016 have been released, and it proved two things – whilst sales growth performed less than expected, online retail seemed to have kicked butt. The second thing…
Online retail turnover contributed a strong 3.8% to total retail turnover in original terms, up from 3% in 2015, according to the latest retail sales figures for December 2016, announced by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
The second thing that the retail sales stats proved is that whilst Australians are buying more, they are paying less for it.
Australian retail sales for the last month of 2016 showed a 0.1% fall to $25.61 billion in seasonally adjusted terms, versus the 0.3% expected increase. This follows November’s 0.1% rise and October’s 0.3% rise.
While sales fell in December, volumes for the three months ending 2016 rose by 0.9%, indicating that whilst we are buying more, we are paying less for goods.
The top performing categories were electrical goods, jewellery and footwear, while hardware and garden sales plummeted by a significant 6.6%, prompting speculation about a weather-based anomaly. Food was up by 0.5%.
Department store sales rose by 0.3%, with Myer thought to have done quite well over the December 2016 trading period.
Fashion, and clothing apparel though are what is the most talked about this week. Despite a 1.4% increase, the category has seen an adverse shift, with shockwaves across the industry following the announcement of four fashion retailers calling in the administrators this past week. Herrington & Rhodes & Beckett are the latest fashion victims as off yesterday, with Marcs and David Lawrence hitting the brakes last week.
Higher overheads and competition from international fashion retailers entering the market could be good reasons for this latest wave of store closures. These brands are good examples that sales don’t always equal profits, and it’s the bottom line that counts. And, there are warnings that more fashion retailers could call it quits this year.