Retail sales fail to fire: CCIQ

Friday 6 December, 2019 | By: Faith Jarvis


  • Slowing retail sales an ominous sign for retailers
  • Almost 44% of annual turnover has been in food retailing, particularly supermarkets
  • Consumers spending less and becoming more thrifty

October retail sales edged up 0.4% on a seasonally adjusted basis in Queensland, while growth in annual sales continued its slowdown to 3.7% accordingly to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) notes the sluggish retail activity highlights the challenging business conditions being experienced by Queensland’s small business community.

CCIQ Chief Economist, Dr Marcus Smith said that weakened sales growth is an ominous sign for retailers heading into Christmas at what should be a time where there is an elevation of activity for Queensland shopkeepers.

“While Queensland has avoided falling sales for the month of October, as Victoria and New South Wales experienced,  the slowdown in turnover growth puts additional stress on already thin margins as costs for the small business community continue to escalate.

“There is no doubt that consumers are spending less and becoming more thrifty-  as was reflected in the recent national accounts data showing the nation’s saving ratio rose sharply over the September quarter.

“Nevertheless, the month produced reasonable sales in cafes, restaurants and on consumable goods such as pharmaceuticals and clothing, which was offset by department store sales and ongoing falls in items directly exposed to the residential housing sector including furniture, floor coverings and homewares, and household goods.

 “What is important to note about retail turnover over the last twelve months is that 43.5 per cent of the annual turnover was in food retailing, in particular supermarkets, and turnover this October is $100 million greater than it was in October 2018.

“Businesses reported a slowdown in sales and revenue over the September quarter in the Suncorp-CCIQ Pulse Survey, however, they anticipate an improvement in sales activity during the December quarter,” Dr Smith said.

CCIQ notes that ABS data shows that Queensland’s retail spend was $5.573 billion for the month of October amounting to $65.824 billion over the last 12 months.


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