Retail prepared for challenging Xmas

ARA_1After a year of tough trade, retailers aren’t expecting any miracles this Christmas, peak retail industry body the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has confirmed.

Retailers are anticipating moderate year-on-year growth of 3.5 percent, totalling $39.9 billion projected in retail sales from mid-November to 24 December 2010.

ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman said retailers were already offering generous pre-Christmas sales rather than waiting until Boxing Day in a bid to get consumers spending and bump up the expected $39.9 billion (up from $38.5 billion last year) .

“Consumers will be the winners this Christmas with almost 63 percent of retailers surveyed defying tradition by offering consumers sales before Christmas including discounts of up to 30 percent off, two-for-one deals and complimentary gifts with purchases.”

“Retailers are usually optimistic in the lead up to Christmas but this year their spirits have been dampened with over 60 percent of retailers expecting trade over the Christmas period to be lower than last year.”

“This year has been tough for retailers with consumers still suffering from a post-GFC hangover and being very careful about opening their purses and spending on particular items especially clothing, footwear and bigger ticket household items.”

“Over 77 percent of retailers surveyed believe RBA interest rate rises this year, including the most recent November rate rise, will be detrimental to retail trade over Christmas 2010. Needless to say, retailers are welcoming signs from the RBA that they will hold rates next Tuesday,” Zimmerman said.

According to ARA modelling, Christmas trade for 2010 is projected as follows:
2009 national Christmas retail sales: $39.9 billion (up from 2009 – $38.5 billion)
National category breakdown: food $15.7 billion, department stores $3.4 billion, apparel $2.8 billion, household $6.7 billion, hospitality $5.5 billion and other $5.8 billion.

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