Australian Retail Sales Rebound as Amazon Launches


Despite Amazon's official Australian launch, Australian retail sales rose 0.5 per cent in October, recovering from a weak September quarter.

The October figures were higher than an expected forecast estimate of a 0.3 per cent rise. September’s retail sales result, originally reported as flat, were revised higher to show an increase of 0.1 per cent.

The retail behemoth started taking online orders from its marketplace on Tuesday.

[Related reading:

Amazon Set to Launch Australian Site]

"In seasonally adjusted terms, there were rises across all industries led by cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services," the director of the Quarterly Economy Wide Survey Ben James said.

There were also rises for food retailing (0.3 per cent), clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (1.0 per cent), other retailing (0.3 per cent), department stores (0.5 per cent) and household goods retailing (0.1 per cent) in October 2017.

Amazon's turnover will not feature in ABS' monthly retail figures, as the bureau does not yet include online data even though online retail accounts for more than 7 per cent of total sales.

The rise in retail spending follows Tuesday’s decision by the

Reserve Bank of Australia to keep official cash rates on hold at 1.5 per cent

, leaving them unaltered since August 2016. HIA said that RBA is close to marking the longest ever period without a change in interest rates.

The retail performance for October showed increases in every Australian state and territory in seasonally adjusted terms.

Online retail turnover contributed 4.7 per cent to total retail turnover in original terms.

Amazon had its Australian soft launch in November where it was essentially testing its platform and delivery mechanism with resellers and with limited goods. The online retail giant had developed its fulfilment centre in Dandenong in Melbourne’s east.

The opening of its full consumer Australian website is a strong challenge to the $300 billion Australian retail sector, which is expected to see strong discounting in the November and December period as retailers seek to maintain market share over the Christmas trading period.

Amazon has launched with 23 product categories with both its own retail offer, shipping items direct to customers, and its "third-party" marketplace allowing other businesses to sell through Amazon's Australian website.

[Related reading: Amazon Leases First Australian Warehouse In Dandenong]

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