Retail sales recovery expected

NEXT financial year should be the state's strongest for retail in years, according to a Deloitte Access Economics report released today.

The report forecasts a growth of 2.7 per cent in retail sales in 2013-14, after an expected drop of 1.4 per cent this financial year to June 30.

Access Economics partner David Rumbens said recent data on retail sales for Tasmania had been poor, but there had been a strong lift through the March quarter of this year, with a rise of 3.2 per cent after three successive quarters of falling sales.

However, Mr Rumbens conceded there may have been a "statistical issue" with the figure.

"I'm not sure people have been spending less and less and less and then suddenly spending a whole lot more," he said.

"Over the past year, spending in Tasmania has remained unchanged, but it's better than we thought.

"In 2012, it was declining and it's no longer declining."

Over the past year, Tasmania's sales had dropped by 0.7 per cent, Mr Rumbens said, but it was a marked improvement on the previous low point of -3.5 per cent in December 2012, and an even deeper low of -4.5 per cent in March 2011.

"After a long period of sales going backwards, the most recent data is stronger and it's nearly level, and we expect a better year ahead," he said.

However, in 2014-15, Tasmania's retail growth was expected to drop back to 1 per cent.

Nationally, the report shows a "stunning" growth of 2.2 per cent in retail sales in the March quarter this year, but says this is unlikely to continue, with growth slowing in April, and federal budget measures that would cut into disposable incomes, it says.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics released figures on Monday showing the state's retail trade increased marginally in April, rising 0.1 per cent in trend terms.

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