Latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showed a 0.5 per cent slump in retail turnover in December 2017.
“There were falls for household goods retailing (-2.6 per cent) and other retailing (-1.8 per cent) following strong rises in the November month,” said Ben James, director of Quarterly Economy Wide Surveys at the ABS.
“Department stores (-0.6 per cent), cafes, restaurants and takeaways (-0.1 per cent), and clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (-0.1 per cent) also fell.”
The only bright spot was a 0.7 per cent rise in food retailing.
However, the situation may not be as dire as the numbers suggest.
According to the ABS, the December result was likely impacted by the strength of November, when sales rose by 1.3 per cent rise. The stronger performance was attributed to strong promotions activity as well as the release of Apple’s iPhone X.
The industry started 2018 on a fairly sour note with news that several more retailers had fallen into administration, including one that had been operating for almost 70 years.