Long run into federal election may dull retails' best start in four years

Long run into federal election may dull retails' best start in four years

Retailers have experienced the best start in four years as sales jumped by 0.9% in January following a poor run into the Christmas period.

Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that retail turnover increased by 0.9% in the first month of 2012 after a 0.4% drop in December and 0.2% decline in November, seasonally adjusted.

Steve Allen, media analysts and principal of Fusion Strategy, said the retailers have started the year on a positive footing with the result “nearly twice the growth rate of last January”.

“But of course the January month had run before Prime Minister Julia Gillard had telegraphed a 7.5 month lead in to this year’s federal election,” Allen said.

“This may well subdue spending in the coming months as politics, policies and electioneering, no doubt become dirty and vicious.

“But at least we got one clear month in the sunshine.”

The rise in spending was driven out of ‘other retailing’ which grew by 2.6% with sales of household goods in second place with a growth of 1.3%.

Dining-in and takeaway sales posted a sales increase of 1%, clothing, footwear and accessory retailing added 0.7% and food retailing grew by 0.3%.

The joy was not felt by department stores which experienced a drop of 0.6%.

New South Wales drove the rise with a 1.3% increase followed by Tasmania with 1.4%, Northern Territory on 1.3% and Victoria with a 1% rise.

South Australia grew by 0.4% and Australian Capital Territory posted growth of 0.8%.

However Western Australia dropped 0.4%.  Over the longer term, Queensland is largest contributor to growth, up 0.3% in trend terms.

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