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Australia retail sales return to growth in April 2018

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The Australian retail industry returned to growth in April with a 0.4% rise in sales after stalling in March, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), surpassing expectations of a 0.2% gain.

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“Retail turnover rose by 0.4% in April, seasonally adjusted, which is an improvement on the March figures which showed no increase,” said National Retail Association CEO, Dominique Lamb, adding it was positive news following the sluggish start to 2018 for the sector.

All seven Australian states, except for South Australia, recorded growth for the month period, with the Northern Territory lifting the most in value terms, up 2.6% in April.

The ABS recorded strong sales for cafes, restaurants and takeaways, kicked on by unseasonably warm weather, which many states experienced throughout autumn.

On the fashion front, the results were not as good with both department stores, and clothing, footwear and personal accessories categories recording turnover falls of 0.9% and 0.8%, respectively.”

Looking forward, the NRA pointed out that one of Australia’s biggest annual discount seasons — to mark the End of Financial Year (EOFY) — began last week, meaning fashion and department store sales should improve in June.

It is forecast that Australian shoppers will splurge close to $26 billion during the EOFY sales period in June.

“With several department stores and fashion outlets slashing their prices between now and July 1, we are optimistic that sales in this area will pick up markedly in the month ahead,” said Lamb.

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“We urge shoppers across the country to take advantage of many of the great bargains on offer as retailers attempt to clear stock before the end of the financial year.”

Annual retail sales of more than A$315 billion accounts for almost 18% of Australia’s GDP.