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Difficult Retail Conditions

“Statistics released show that Australia’s fourth-quarter consumer prices had the smallest increase in more than a year as retailers lowered prices of clothing, car and computers to attract shoppers with unprecedented discounting throughout the Christmas and New Year trading period. The price of electrical goods fell 3.2%, drug prices fell 4.6% and clothing and footwear prices fell 0.2%, whilst at the same time food prices increased 1.8 percent for the fourth quarter. The statistics bureau also repoted that retail sales fell 0.1 percent in November from October, the second decline in three months. In examples reported, auto parts retailer Super Cheap Autos, with 225 stores said sales fell 0.5 percent in the 26 weeks ended Dec. 31. A general weakness in the apparel market is demonstarted by Pacific Brands, (underwear, footwear and bedding) which said first-half earnings fell as much as 5% on discounting and weaker demand for women’s clothing. David Jones reported in November that their first-quarter revenue declined 3.1% as weaker consumer spending damped sales of furniture, televisions and major appliances.”

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