Retail Connect Industry Insights Report January 2016

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1 Retail Connect Industry Insights Report January 2016

2 About the National Retail Association (NRA) The NRA is Australia's largest and most representative retail industry organisation. For almost 100 years, the NRA has represented the interests of the retail, fast food and broader service sector, delivering critical information and advice to thousands of businesses nationally. NRA's services are delivered by a team of highly trained and well qualified people, in-house with decades of retailspecific knowledge and experience. About the NRA Business & Industry Intelligence Unit The NRA has a dedicated Business and Industry Intelligence Unit that provides insight into the everchanging retail environment, how businesses are adjusting to change, and what they are doing to remain relevant in an increasingly digital marketplace. With extensive experience and expertise across the Australian retail landscape, team members in the Business & Industry Intelligence Unit have the insight and technical support needed to deliver a broad range of advice to retailers, as well as businesses and agencies that service this diverse industry. The team has the knowledge and technical experience to understand and translate the current and future needs of retail businesses, and through deep engagement and evidence-based decision making, can facilitate genuine and reliable collaborations between retailers, service providers and government. About Cameron Meiklejohn, NRA Industry Research & Data Analyst Cameron has been working in the area of market and social research for more than a decade, with experience across the private, government and academic sectors. His experience is diverse, ranging from brand management, media relations, and data analysis. With a constantly evolving role, to meet the needs of members and industry, Cameron is responsible for analysing and interpreting industry, economic and social data, to better understand the retail landscape and its position within the broader economy.

3 Retail Connect Edition 1 January 2016 Prepared by Cameron Meiklejohn Industry Research & Data Analyst National Retail Association Retail Connect is a quarterly review prepared by the National Retail Association to provide Australian retail businesses with analysis of top economic trends. Key insights for the current quarter are as follows: On track for modest growth The National Retail Association estimates that the industry will grow by 4.6 per cent across 2015/16, generating actual sales of $299.2 billion. This follows growth of 4.8 per cent and 4.6 per cent in 2014/15 and 2013/14 respectively, and is above the long run average of 4.5 per cent. Labour force It is estimated that the retail labour force exceeded 1.3 million team members in December 2015, an increase of 5.4 per cent on December The demand for labour is expected to continue into 2016, with job vacancies on track to reach a four year high by June. Strong Christmas sales Feedback from National Retail Association members suggests that consumer spending was particularly strong this Christmas. Analysis indicates that total actual sales will likely be $45.1 billion, which is an increase of 5.4 per cent on the same period last year, and the largest growth figure since Industry view: Although recent volatility in global financial markets will cause some people to consider their personal financial circumstances, the Australian economy remains strong. Rising house prices and job vacancy rates should maintain consumer confidence in the short term, making the forecast growth of 4.6 per cent a reasonable target for industry this financial year.

4 Solid Growth Forecast for 2015/16 Following one of the busiest holiday trading periods in recent years, it would appear that the Australian economy is heading in the right direction as attention turns to the second half of the 2015/16 financial year. Since July 2015, the retail industry has benefited from gains in employment, home prices, and consumer confidence, all of which provided momentum for strong spending, leading into the Christmas period. Further, a lower exchange rate resulted in more people staying in Australia for the summer holidays, while also producing a decline in online sales from overseas based retailers. If these favourable economic conditions continue in the coming months, the National Retail Association estimates growth of 4.6 percent for 2015/16.

5 Actual Retail Sales ($bn) Growth Rate (%) Momentum Leading into Christmas Retail sales were steady through October and November, suggesting that there was positive momentum leading into the Christmas trading period. It is estimated that October, November and December improved on the results of the preceding quarter, with actual retail sales being $83.23 billion, which represents a 4.9 per cent ($3.85bn) increase on the same quarter last year. Actual Retail Sales & Growth Rate 2010/ / Actual Retail Sales ($bn) Growth Rate (%) $ bn 6.0% 5.0% 4.0% 3.0% 2.0% 1.0% 0.0% Source: ABS, NRA 2010/ / / / / /16 When adjusted for inflation, the increase in actual retail sales was 3.2 per cent, compared with the same quarter last year. The core retail group of homewares, which includes furniture, floor coverings, kitchenware and cooking utensils, had the largest growth rate, at 7.0 per cent, which represents an increase of almost $250 million for this group, compared with the same quarter last year. Pharmaceutical, cosmetic and toiletry goods (6.6 per cent), and electrical and electronic goods (6.3 per cent), also experienced solid growth in the past quarter. These results indicate that Australians are continuing to spend strongly, especially on items for their homes. Specifically, household goods, which combines the core retail groups of homewares, electrical and electronic goods, and hardware, building and garden supplies, has an MAT Change (%) of 8.0 per cent 1. 1 Moving annual turnover (MAT) is the total value of consumer spending for a twelve month period, calculated on a monthly rolling basis.

6 MAT Change (%) MAT Change (%), Household Goods MAT Change (%) Long Run Average 10.0% 9.0% 8.0% 7.0% 6.0% 5.0% 4.0% 3.0% 2.0% 1.0% 0.0% Source: ABS While indications suggest that this category is beginning to contract, falling from the peak of 9.5 per cent, which was recorded in August 2015, MAT Change for household goods remains well above its long run average of 3.4 per cent.

7 Turnover ($bn) Growth Rate Christmas Sales Post-Christmas feedback from National Retail Association members indicates that foot traffic was high throughout December, with many businesses suggesting that sales were up on Indeed, some members remarked that the holiday trading period had been one of the strongest since the global financial crisis, indicating that observed momentum in November sales translated to continued industry performance during December. While official retail trade figures will not be available until early next month (February 2016), the National Retail Association estimates that turnover for the holiday trading period, which is usually regarded as the last two weeks of November, and all of December, was approximately $45.1bn, which represents an increase of 5.4 per cent on the 2014 total of $42.7bn. If this estimate proves to be accurate, it would be the largest growth figure in more than eight years, highlighting current strength in consumer spending, driven by favourable economic conditions and improved consumer confidence. As has been reported elsewhere, much of the growth across the holiday period was driven by the sub-categories of toys and entertainment, electrical and electronic goods, and sport and lifestyle products. Christmas Sales ($bn) & Growth (%) Turnover ($bn) Growth Rate (%) 46.0 $45.1bn 6.0% % % % % % % Source: ABS, NRA

8 Turnover ($bn) Growth Rate Predictions for 2016 Given the positive results from holiday trading, and relative strength of the Australian economy, it is reasonable to suggest that consumer spending should be robust for the second half of the financial year. Analysis conducted by the National Retail Association suggests that demand for labour should continue to rise, keeping the unemployment rate below 6.0 per cent for the next quarter. Improved conditions and prospects within the labour market should maintain current levels of consumer confidence in the short term, which is anticipated to be a positive factor on retail sales. Turnover ($bn) & Growth Rate (%) 2011/ /16 Turnover ($bn) Growth Rate (%) $299.2bn 2011/ / / / /16 6.0% 5.0% 4.0% 3.0% 2.0% 1.0% 0.0% Source: ABS, NRA The National Retail Association estimates that turnover for the Australian retail industry will reach $299.2 billion for the 2015/16 financial year, representing modest growth of 4.6 per cent on 2014/15. At this level, the Australian retail industry would remain above the long run average growth rate of 4.5 per cent. In broad terms, the anticipated gains in employment, and sustained consumer confidence, will see similar growth rates to what has been achieved in recent years.

9 Labour Force (Millions) Growth Rate Retail Labour Force Grows In addition to sales growth, the demand for labour within the Australian retail industry has also expanded in recent months, with analysis conducted by the National Retail Association suggesting that 1.31 million people were employed across the sector at December This represents an increase of 5.4 per cent in labour force size, compared with the same month in Labour Force (Millions) & Growth Rate (%) Labour Force Growth Rate 1.31 million 6.0% 5.0% 4.0% 3.0% 2.0% 1.0% 0.0% -1.0% -2.0% -3.0% Source: ABS, NRA Further, the number of job vacancies being advertised within the retail and personal service industries are also increasing at present with the number of openings anticipated to be at a four year high by the end of the current financial year.

10 Job Vacancy Index (Mar 2006 = 100) Job Vacancy Index Job Vacancy Index Forecast Job Vacancy Index Source: ABS, NRA

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