Dismal December for retail as sales slump
The AFR reported that retail sales fell during December as online sale events in November reduced consumer spending in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Seasonally adjusted retail turnover fell 0.44% in December according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, dropping well below market expectations for flat growth. Household goods and clothing and footwear led the falls during December after strong rises in November from Black Friday promotions. Foot traffic in retail stores in December was the worst on record as the changing spending calendar and increased online shopping left bricks and mortar retailers struggling. Kmart, Kathmandu and PAS Group issued profit warnings or downgraded forecasts earlier this year after weak Christmas sales while David Jones revealed that sales tanked in the lead-up to Christmas. Looking at approximate year-on-year statistics, retail spending was still up around 2.5% over December 2017.