Pete Wargent blogspot

CEO AllenWargent Property Buyers, & WargentAdvisory (institutional). 6 x finance author.

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Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Dining boom quietly returns

Department stores snap back

I noted last month the unusual-looking -6.2 per cent decline in department store retail turnover.

The sector snapped back with a +3.5 per cent gain in August together with an adjustment to the July result, helping total Retail Trade to record modest growth of +0.4 per cent in the month.  

Industry turnover hit a total of $25.1 billion.

Overall it's been a weaselly patch for retail turnover, with annual trend growth sinking well below the 5-year average. 

State versus state

Despite a monthly rebound in New South Wales and Victoria, retail turnover has been flat across the last three months in Vic.

In fact, the only solid retail performers over the past quarter have been the Queenslanders (+2.5 per cent). 

Following a previously very strong uplift, the impact of higher asset values now appears to be losing its sting in the two most populous states. 

The strongest annual gains in retail turnover have been in IKEA-inspired Canberra and the two southern states, while the other resources states have pretty much flat-lined. 

'Dining boom'

At the industry level, the boom in household goods also appears to have run its course.

The only other real point of note was a seasonally adjusted +1.2 per cent increase in expenditure in cafes, restaurants, and takeaways.

In fact, annual growth in the takeaway food sector surged to a 6-year high.

Meanwhile across the industry sector annual turnover growth jumped to +5.9 per cent, to now account for its greatest ever share of total retail turnover. 

Either household budgets aren't remotely stretched, or eating out has become a new essential. Or maybe a combo of the two.

The wrap

A somewhat better monthly result, but overall retail turnover growth seems to be running low on huff and puff.