Clothing retail delivering fashionable figures for Queensland
International clothing brands are making their presence felt Down Under and small business is enjoying the new fashion figures trend.
The most recent release of retail trade data by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has continued to highlight nation leading growth figures for Queensland, and in particular, the sustained performance of clothing and fashion sales.
For a second consecutive month, Queensland retail sales have grown at a larger rate than the national average, recording a rise of 0.5 per cent in October 2016 to reach an annual growth figure of 4.1 per cent in trend terms.
Although below the 10-year average of 4.3 per cent, the signs for Queensland retail are positive leading into the critical Christmas trading period, with momentum gathering across the past six months.
The improvements in Queensland retail figures coincide with a number of major developments across the State, but most notably, the completion of the Pacific Fair redevelopment on the Gold Coast (Aug ‘16), as well as major redevelopments in regional areas, including Grand Central in Toowoomba (Sep ‘16).
Central to these redevelopments has been the further expansion of global fashion brands into the Queensland market, with Zara opening a new store as part of the Pacific Fair redevelopment, and H&M marking its entry into regional Australia through a location at Grand Central.
While it is assumed that national clothing sales have benefited from the arrival of these high-profile fashion retailers, the figures would suggest that Queensland has had a particularly strong appetite for these international brands.
The recent announcement that H&M will open at Stockland Shopping Centre in Townsville during 2017 is further evidence that there is confidence in the Queensland retail sector at present, especially for the clothing and fashion sub-category.
This confidence appears to be well justified given the annual growth figures for clothing retail across the past 18 months, with Queensland performing above the national average since August 2014.
Across 2015/16, clothing sales in Queensland increased by 12.7 per cent, compared with just 6.3 per cent nationally, while the year-to-date figures for 2016/17 suggest that this form will likely continue for some time.
Given that the Queensland market has a low concentration of international retail brands, compared with New South Wales and Victoria, it is inevitable that further disruption will be caused as new entrants push into what is perceived to be fertile ground.
While this will present challenges for existing retail businesses, which will need to be attentive to the new arrivals, the evidence suggests that opportunities exist in Queensland for those retailers that achieve the right mix of product offering, across multiple channels.
These developments will continue to be monitored by CCIQ across the coming months, with particular reference to retail performance in regional Queensland.