Christmas sales fail to impress as Queensland’s retail sector continues to muddle along: CCIQ

Wednesday 6 February, 2019 | By: Thomas Birkbeck

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) notes that Queensland’s retail sales increased $26.5 million or 0.5% over the month to December 2018.

Turnover this December was around 4% higher than December last year, and over 2018 Queensland saw 2.2% growth in headline retail sales to $63.44 billion.

Despite annual growth in turnover over 2018 being higher compared to 1.71% during 2016-17, it remains lower than the 3.15% average annual growth rate for the last decade.

CCIQ Chief Economist, Dr Marcus Smith said it’s critical that growth in business turnover keep pace with rising costs for Queensland businesses as the retail sector continues to muddle along, as the half percentage point increase in December trailed similar monthly growth since August.

“Across the various categories the greatest year on year sales growth was observed in supermarkets and groceries at almost $100 million (5.36%)”, Dr Smith said.

“Clothing sales were up around $18 million (7.56%) and household goods rose by a similar amount (1.92%), electrical and electronic goods rose by $14 million (4.11%), while newspapers and books appear back in vogue growing by $5 million (10.12%) over the year”.

“Cafes and restaurants had a tough year though, falling around $4m (-0.91%), while takeaways were up around $8 million (3.38%).”

“It was a relatively flat year for footwear and other personal accessories (-0.93%) as well as for the furniture, floor coverings, houseware and textiles category (-0.47%) each dropping by about $1 million”.

“At the end of the day business is about profitability; flat sales growth is disappointing especially considering the increasing costs faced by Queensland businesses”, Dr Smith said.

CCIQ’s Pulse Survey of Business Conditions for the December Quarter indicated while the majority of businesses expected sales and revenues to stay the same or increase since the September quarter, businesses reported that they were less optimistic about their sales and revenue compared to December last year.

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