Retail sales growth strengthening, according to the 12th and latest edition of the AFGC CHEP Retail Index. It reveals year-on-year growth in retail sales at its strongest since early 2010.
The Index moved 4.2 per cent higher in December 2013 versus December 2012, up from an increase of 1.9 per cent between September 2013 and September 2012.
On a quarterly basis, the Index was 4.0 per cent higher in the December 2013 quarter compared with the December 2012 quarter.
Australian Food & Grocery Council CEO, Gary Dawson, said the strengthening rate of growth suggested the Christmas trading period in 2013 may have been better than analysts had expected for retailers.
The Index suggests this upswing is likely to sustain through early 2014, forecasting a year-on-year increase of 4.2 per cent for the month of February 2014 and a 4.2 per cent year-on-year increase for the March 2014 quarter.
Mr Dawson said: “The combined effect of low interest rates and improved consumer confidence after the Federal election has seen retailers experience a stronger-than-expected rise in retail sales over the past few months. Retailers will be hoping that the labour market also strengthens to support a return to a genuinely strong retail environment.”
Recent movements in Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Retail Trade trend data are consistent with this outlook. The latest data shows that year-on-year growth in nominal retail trade picked up to 4.1 per cent over the year to November 2013, taking economists by surprise1.
CHEP Australia & New Zealand President, Phillip Austin, said: “The strong growth since August 2013 is a welcome change. We’re delighted that the retail industry experienced a stronger than forecasted Christmas peak and that the uplift can be expected to continue into the March quarter of 2014. With our network size and scale, CHEP fully supported our retail customers through this upswing, and is well positioned to meet the additional demand for pallets, produce crates and retail display solutions resulting from the increase in retail trade.”