Retailers welcome a positive and accurate reflection of the sector

The National Retail Association (NRA) last week hailed further positive results for the retail sector, with Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data showing 1.3 per cent growth in February 2013, following a rise of 1.2 per cent in January.

NRA chief executive Trevor Evans also applauded the ABS for highlighting the year-on-year results, showing retail turnover rose 4.6 per cent in February 2013 compared to one year prior.

Mr Evans had urged the ABS to consider highlighting the year-on-year results, given industry concerns about the volatility in month-on-month reporting.

“Rather than having a critical Australian industry and its employees watching the figures bounce up and down each month we will now see an accurate picture of what’s happening in the sector which should assist the confidence of retailers, investors and consumers,” Mr Evans said.

“These results show Australian retailers have withstood floods, fires and other disasters throughout February.

“While we’re not yet seeing strong growth levels, we welcome further positive signs emerging from some categories that have struggled in previous years including clothing and footwear, department stores and electronics .

The retail categories still doing it tough are newspapers, books and the categories most closely connected with the housing sector such as furniture, house wares and floor coverings.

“These results imply that while consumers may be starting to be a little looser with their wallet and purse string, confidence has not yet spilled over entirely into the housing market,” he said.