• Share
Home central banks Interest Rates News Retailers refreshing for tough 2011
Retailers refreshing for tough 2011

Retailers refreshing for tough 2011

2011-01-10 12:24:15



Retailers face gloomy prospects in the year of 2011 after new figures revealed pre-Christmas shoppers were cautious and out for bargains.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on Monday reported retail trade rose 0.3 per cent in the month of November, seasonally adjusted.
Popular items were early-discounted sporting goods, DVDs and video games, but shoppers were not so keen on clothing and footwear.
The slight sales growth followed a fall of 0.8 per cent in October.
Department stores recorded a 0.8 per cent rise, with turnover at cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services up 0.4%.
But supermarket and grocery store turnover fell 0.1 %.
Commence economist Savant Sebastian said the result - which followed an interest rate hike on Melbourne Cup Day - was disappointing.
"It will have a knock-on effect ... January and February are certainly looking like they will be weak ... it's clear the Australian economy is losing momentum," he said.
"It isn't just the rate hikes, but the conservative attitudes of consumers having a marked impact."
A spokesman for Treasurer Wayne Swan said the result was not surprising, given the uncertain global economy and the fact more people were taking advantage of higher incomes to pay down debt.
"While there have been a range of claims made about the retail industry in recent weeks and plenty of mixed reports about trading conditions, the fundamentals of the Australian economy remain strong," the spokesman said.
Australian National Retailers Association CEO Margy Osmond said 2011 did not look promising, with a survey showing more than a third of people intending to cut spending this year.
"Consumers have been telling us all year that they feel secure, confidence and jobs are high, but they are not intending to spend that cash, choosing instead to save it," she said.
"It seems that trend is becoming entrenched and is unlikely to change at least in the short term."
Australian Retailers Association chief Russell Zimmerman said that with inflation at 2.8 per cent it was not possible to call the latest figure "growth".
He said the figures highlighted the importance of the Productivity Commission inquiry into the sector and should caution the Reserve Bank against any interest rate rises in the next few months.
National Retail Association boss Gary Black said the figure highlighted the error of the November interest rate rise and showed the need to overhaul tax arrangements for retailers following the inquiry.
He said retailers exploiting the $1000 GST threshold - which is being examined - also avoided paying tariffs, import duties and customs charges.
But Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Monday hinted that axing the GST-free threshold would not be smart.
"It would cost more in administration costs than would be recovered in revenue," she told reporters in Canberra.
"I would be very reluctant to see Australians who are facing cost-of-living pressures not able to access shopping on the internet in the way they access it now."
Ms Gillard also ruled out looking at the GST at the tax summit due to be held this year.