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OZ Retail Booms AS CE Drives Employment

The Australian Retailers Index has revealed a 24 percent jump in confidence among SME retailers over the past quarter, with confidence rising to its highest level since August 2008. Backing up the confidence among sellers of consumer electronics and technology is GFK data that shows that sales of TV’s, digital cameras, notebooks and sound gear are booming. 

Australian Retailers Association Executive Director Richard Evans said confidence among retail SMEs reached positive 18 percent and reflected the sector’s optimistic outlook for the months ahead.

“There is a definite feeling of optimism this quarter with retailers telling us the ‘future looks good’, reflecting the rise in consumer sentiment and aligning with expectations of improved retail trade growth by the September quarter,” Evans said.

“With consumer confidence rising, retail sales performance also increased four percent to negative 14 percent. Expectations for continued sales growth jumped 40 percent to a balance of six percent, further cementing the sector’s positive outlook for improved growth in the coming months.

“Other reasons retailers gave for improved confidence included that their businesses were established and experienced and their pricing was competitive.  Other retail SMEs noted they had been able to find opportunities in the current economic downturn, with their products being more popular for consumers who were decreasing their spend.

“Adding to retail confidence was improved support for the Federal Government with the three percent approval rating up eight percent from the previous quarter.

“Retailers said they were feeling the benefit of the Federal Government’s economic stimulus package and they were also supportive of the 50 percent tax rebate for small business investments announced as part of the Federal Budget.


“However, there were still 25 percent of retailers who believed the Federal Government’s policies worked against small business with a feeling there was too much bureaucracy related to retail operations,” Evans said.

“Comments relating to  retail unemployment was a result of inaccurate analysis of the ABS labour force figures,” said.

“The labour force figures actually confirm the retail sector has maintained employment levels over the three months leading into May with minimal movement from February’s seasonally adjusted unemployment numbers.”