State retail figures a case of good and bad

TASMANIA recorded its equal lowest retail turnover in five months in November, Australian Bureau of Statistics data revealed yesterday.

The state's retail turnover increased by 0.8 per cent in trend terms, the lowest since July, when there was also 0.8 per cent growth.

This compares with August, September and October, when 0.9 per cent growth was reported each month.

However, Tasmania recorded the biggest November trend increase out of all states and territories.

Nationwide, the retail turnover increase in trend terms was 0.5 per cent in November.

Launceston Chamber of Commerce executive officer Maree Tetlow welcomed the improvement in Tasmanian retail turnover during the past few months, but was cautious.

"Hopefully, it will continue to improve and we hope the Christmas-New Year data is positive as well," she said.

"But we would not claim that it's a major economic achievement, when we consider that the retail turnover figures for the rest of Australia, have increased year- on-year since the global financial crisis.

"Tasmania must be seen in the context of how everyone else has fared and they have seen growth.

"We have seen those declines, while the costs continue to increase."

Ms Tetlow said the consumer price index increased every year, as did labour and business costs.

"So the expectation would be that there would be at least some small increase every year," she said.

Ms Tetlow said the growth between retail sectors was patchy, with some goods such as electronics faring well, but others such as clothing doing it tough.

However, Premier Lara Giddings welcomed the new data and said Tasmanian retail spending had returned to pre-GFC highs and was close to breaking records.

"This is the second strongest monthly result in history and points to brighter times ahead for the state's economy," Ms Giddings said.

"Retail spending growth in Tasmania has outpaced Australia for each of the past six months."

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