Retailers across the country are cheering as the results for the busiest period role in. The first two weeks of December placed all sectors ahead of the same period in 2014, with the Sporting sector leading the way.
That trend continued all the way through the month, with the Australian Retail Index reporting a 5% growth overall across all sectors compared with last year. Sporting continued to lead the way all throughout the month with an impressive 15% growth on November and a 14% growth on December last year.
December 2014 compared with December 2015
The General sector (which includes gift stores, health and leisure goods) came in a close second with an 8% growth on last year. These two sectors together, General and Sporting (including camping, sporting, games and hobbies) cover the Australian gift giving realm almost perfectly.
All was not lost on Fashion as it saw a steady 12% growth moving into December from November this year but when compared to the same period last year, Fashion dropped just over 2% overshadowed by Sporting’s growth. Suggesting perhaps grandma’s reindeer sweater didn’t make it to the Christmas tree.
Furniture had a very slow start to the month with a drop in sales from November to December of almost 8% but picked up the pace and closed out the month a fraction above midline with a 1.5% growth on December 2014.
Boxing Day in particular greatly magnified the disparity between the sectors, namely Fashion which endured a 18.5% loss on the same period last year.
Shoppers most definitely flocked to the stores as the Furniture, Sporting and General Sectors combined showed a 9% increase on last year’s Boxing Day. However, Fashion collectively including accessories and footwear did not match 2014 sales.
Despite the volatility of this sector throughout the year, a growth over Boxing Day would have been expected along with the other sectors, however 2014 Christmas proved to be a bigger year for Fashion.
Boxing Day 2014 compared with Boxing Day 2015
As expected, leading into Christmas, lay by’s and refunds decreased from the 1st to the 24th of December and then shot up in the last week of December as gifts were refunded leading out of the Boxing Day sales period.
Interestingly, other metrics including Average Basket Size and Units per Transaction decreased marginally on last year suggesting that although overall sales increased year on year, the quantity of gifts from the same store lowered.
Payment options across all states and sectors remained steady with New South Wales superseding all on credit payments at over 60% throughout the month of December.
All data has been sourced from the Australian Retail Index. Hit Follow above to ensure you receive the updates.
Aaron Blackman – CEO, Retail Express – Australia’s leading POS systems