Queensland small businesses dreaming of a bright Christmas
The recent upturn in the State economy is pointing to better Christmas sales, according to latest data from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ).
CCIQ last month launched the Queensland Economic Update and, to accompany the monthly report, the Economic Performance Index, providing an overall measurement of how the state economy is tracking relative to other states.
This ongoing examination of key indicators, covering labour, finance, construction, retail and demographics, is delivering a much needed source of data and information for Queensland businesses.
CCIQ Director of Advocacy Nick Behrens said the data points to projected retail sales for Christmas 2016 of $9.13 billion.
“This would be an increase of 3.9 per cent compared to Christmas 2015 and the first time that the $9bn mark has been surpassed in Queensland,” he said.
“While forecast growth is below the 10-year average of 4.2 per cent, at 3.9 per cent this would be a good result for Queensland retail, especially given the soft sales results that have been recorded across most of 2016.”
Spend by retail sub-group:
• Food: $3.57bn
• Household goods (furniture, homewares, electrical, electronic, hardware): $1.58bn
• Clothing, footwear and accessories: $0.74bn
• Department stores: $0.77bn
• Other (sporting goods, cosmetics, books): $1.28bn
• Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food: $1.19bn
Mr Behrens said this growth in sales would be welcome for small businesses which have faced tough times in recent years.
“After accounting for the current economic climate, and other underlying factors in Queensland, 3.9 per cent would represent a solid Christmas trade period for retail businesses and would build on the growth of 3.4 per cent that was achieved in 2015,” he said.
The Christmas sales period is defined as the last two weeks of November and all of December.
“In recent years, we have seen significant discounting prior to Christmas to lure customer spending. When times are good typically any sales only occur from Boxing Day onwards and we are reasonably confident based on the forecasts discounting will not be seen to the same extent.”
South East Queensland will also see 24-hour trading in the build-up to Christmas, which is expected to bolster sales.
“This year is unique in that the day before Christmas is a Saturday. This represents gold for retailers with many Queenslanders off work and using this day for their last-minute shopping,” he said.
“CCIQ anticipates that more than 6 per cent of all sales will occur on line. This is weighed down by relatively low incidence of online purchasing for food and beverage that accounts for about 40 per cent of all sales.”
The first two Queensland Economic Updates, covering the months of August and September, revealed an improving business environment and real signs that the economy was on the rise again.
According to latest CCIQ data, South East Queensland is set to record the strongest retail sales growth with leaner Christmas cheer in some regional centres currently doing it tough.