Small Business in Queensland leads nation’s retail growth

Tuesday 10 January, 2017

Small businesses across Queensland are leading the charge in national retail growth, according to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ).

Retail trade figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) highlight that Queensland continues to produce nation-leading growth figures, with the sector recording an annual trend increase of 4.3 per cent in the 12 months to November 2016.

Growth across the retail sector continues to be driven by strong performance in household goods (7.3 per cent) and clothing, footwear and personal accessories (8.1 per cent), which grew above the national average of 3.7 per cent and 5.0 per cent respectively.

CCIQ policy analyst Cameron Meiklejohn said the latest figures supported CCIQ research in the lead-up to the busy November 16-December 31 Christmas shopping period, which forecast solid growth.

“Momentum across the retail sector in Queensland has been building since April this year and at 4.3 per cent annual growth it is performing at its highest level in almost three years,” he said.

“At 4.3 per cent the retail industry in Queensland also appears to be returning to more normal levels of growth, following particularly challenging trading conditions across the first half of 2016.”

Mr Meiklejohn said as November also signals the official start of the Christmas sales period, it is encouraging that the café, restaurant, and takeaway foods category has also continued its return to form –, producing an annual growth figure of 3.5 per cent, the largest increase in two years.

“The holidays are always a busy time for the hospitality sector and the rise in consumer spending across cafes and restaurants in recent months would suggest that people across Queensland are far more willing to spend on dining out, compared to this time last year,” he said.

“In particular, with Christmas and New Year both falling on weekends in 2016, it is likely that operators in this sector will have experienced a real benefit this year.”

The CCIQ prediction of $9.13 billion in Christmas sales for 2016 is also expected to be extremely accurate, with the growth forecast being upgraded slightly from 3.9 per cent to 4.1 per cent following the release of the November trade figures.

“The figures recorded in November slightly exceeded our forecast, suggesting that Christmas sales in 2016 could be better than were originally anticipated,” he said.

“At the new revised figure of 4.1 per cent, this would be a significant result for the retail industry and would be a return to more normal levels of growth, compared to recent years.”

The latest data is consistent with CCIQ’s last three monthly Queensland Economic Updates and the CCIQ-Suncorp quarterly Pulse Survey of Business Conditions.

CCIQ research pointed to improved conditions in the small business community and a renewed confidence in terms of revenue, investment and growth in 2017.

Mr Meiklejohn said Queensland small businesses had shown positive signs of coming out of the post resources boom, although looked forward to evidence of sustained growth before confirming they had turned the corner.

”All the latest data is very encouraging. There is certainly enough evidence to suggest that retail and hospitality businesses experienced a solid performance across the vital Christmas trade period and better than the past two years,” he said.

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