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The economy that stole Christmas

  • February 07 2020
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The economy that stole Christmas

By Cameron Micallef
February 07 2020

Retailers did not get their Christmas wish, with December sales falling by 0.5 per cent, seasonally adjusted for the month of December, official figures have shown.

The economy that stole Christmas

The economy that stole Christmas

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  • February 07 2020
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Retailers did not get their Christmas wish, with December sales falling by 0.5 per cent, seasonally adjusted for the month of December, official figures have shown.

The economy that stole Christmas

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures showed what many economists expected, with consumers spending less or simply bringing spending forward.

The results showed that November is becoming the most important month for sales with a 1.0 per cent bump in retail sales.

“The December fall comes after a strong November, led by Black Friday sales,” said Ben James, director of Quarterly Economy Wide Surveys. “There were also some effects from bushfires and associated smoke haze apparent in New South Wales data. Specifically, food retailing and cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services were negatively impacted.”

There were falls for department stores (-2.8 per cent), cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (-0.9 per cent), clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (-1.5 per cent), food retailing (-0.3 per cent) and household goods retailing (-0.3 per cent). 

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These falls were partially offset by a rise in other retailing (0.2 per cent).

According to UBS chief economist George Tharenou, the rate and tax cuts have had little impact on consumer spending, leading to a downgrade in consumption.

“December retail disappointed, with almost all tax and rate cuts repaying debt so far. We downgrade Q4 real consumption to 0.3 per cent,” Mr Tharenou said. 

The results are not likely to improve in the new year, with Valentine’s Day tipped to fall flat in 2020.

According to Finder, only 13 per cent will purchase a gift or flowers for their partner, while one in two couples are ditching the night altogether. 

Kate Browne, personal finance expert at Finder, said that for some Aussies, the “love tax” can put a dampener on Valentine’s Day celebrations.

“They say you can’t put a price on love, but anyone whos ever tried to buy roses on Valentines Day might beg to differ.

“Prices for flowers and hotels tend to skyrocket in the lead-up to Valentines Day. A hotel room in the city can be marked up by as much as $100 during this time.

“You can make your partner feel special without blowing the budget. Cook a nice meal at home, have a bubble bath or go for a picnic. This can help to take the financial pressure off,” Ms Browne said.

The economy that stole Christmas
The economy that stole Christmas
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About the author

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Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

About the author

Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

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