Queensland’s Footwear and Personal Accessories Flip Flop as Cafes and Supermarkets Remain A Retail Staple: CCIQ

Friday 4 October, 2019 | By: Dan Petrie

Retail sales in Queensland rose 0.8% in August on a seasonally adjusted measure and 4.3% on an annual basis as cash registers remain nationally subdued following a flat reporting period in July according to the latest data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Retail activity on a trend measure recorded a 0.1% increase on the month as a slowing economy remains the core concern confronting both retailers and consumers with the national sales also increasing just 0.1% over the month.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) notes that Queensland, which has outperformed the national benchmark in the last 12 months, is now relying on spending in supermarkets, cafés and chemists to offset poor sales in discretionary items such as clothing and household items that continue to operate in a challenging economic environment.

CCIQ Chief Economist, Dr Marcus Smith said growth in sales and revenue is critical for the Queensland small business community amidst escalating costs and challenging economic conditions in the State. 

“The ABS data indicates that growth in total turnover has been softening since March this year and the August result is the slowest rate of growth in the State’s retail sales since May 2018 while growth in national sales is the weakest since September 2017.

“Results from Suncorp-CCIQ Pulse surveys over the past 12 months show businesses have remained optimistic that sales would improve over following quarters despite escalating payroll and operating costs eroding profitability.

“Supermarkets continue to grow sales and eating out as well as take away food services have performed well over the year, however, there was some pullback in cafes and restaurants over the month as there was for clothing coming to the end of the cooler weather.

“It’s been a difficult year for department stores whilst weaker activity in construction and dwelling approvals continues to hurt retailers specialising in hardware as well as furniture and floor coverings.  

“The Reserve Bank’s decision to lower rates to emergency levels reflects that very challenge and the cut to income taxes is essential to put money into people’s pockets in the absence of any meaningful lift in wages across the national economy.

“Nevertheless, lifting wages artificially is lazy policy to increase wage growth especially whilst productivity growth remains low and which is likely to be counter-productive as to further reduce hours offered in the retail space.

“A better way to lift wages is the real way; that is through generating greater levels of demand in the economy.

“The simple fact remains that business activity in construction, resources projects and infrastructure investment is not occurring at a sufficient rate that will drive more tangible gains for Queensland shopkeepers,” Dr Smith said.

In an analysis of the ABS data, Queensland’s retail spend was $5.44 billion over the August period amounting to $65.392 billion over the last 12 months.

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