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Asia Pacific: Australia’s retail sector to slow down, says Australian Food and Grocery Council

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After a stronger-than-expected Christmas trading period, retail spending growth will slow heading into 2015, according to the sixteenth edition of the AFGC CHEP Retail Index released on January 9, 2014.

The Index was 4.4% higher in the December quarter of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013.

However, retail sales growth is expected to slow over the first few months of 2015, with the March quarter results showing 2.4% year-on-year growth.

Christmas trading saw an increase in retail sales of 4.5% year-on-year in the month of December, with turnover of $23.75 billion; however, growth in February 2015 is less robust at 2.5% year-on-year, with turnover retracting to US$23.6 billion, between December and February.

“The lower Australian dollar is positive news for Australian food and grocery exporters; however, the domestic market remains tough for manufacturers, given below average consumer sentiment and the highest unemployment rate in more than a decade,” said Australian Food & Grocery Council (AFGC) chief executive, Gary Dawson.

“Manufacturers and retailers will be hoping the fall in oil prices and low interest rates are sustained, leading to improved consumer confidence in 2015.”

The AFGC CHEP Retail Index is a collaborative project between the AFGC and CHEP Australia, powered by Deloitte.

The Index uses CHEP transactional data based on pallet movements and is a lead indicator of ABS Retail Trade data.

The next AFGC CHEP Retail Index will be released in late April 2015.