Traders notice drop in sales

Federal Budget and weather take hold

BENDIGO traders have noticed a drop in consumer spending due to mild weather and uncertainty surrounding the Federal Budget, says the president of the Bendigo Downtown Traders. 

Ross White, who owns Bags on Williamson, said retailers had seen a 10 to 15 per cent drop in sales during the past two weeks.

"We have noticed over the last two weeks sales have dropped off," he said. 

"The weather is affecting clothing businesses because people are not wanting to buy winter clothing due to the warmer weather."

The weather is affecting clothing businesses because people are not wanting to buy winter clothing due to the warmer weather. - Ross White

Mr White said any drop in sales was a cause for concern. 

"You want it to be on the increase rather than the decrease," he said. 

"I think once the Federal Budget is settled and winter kicks in it will be get better.

"People will have a bit more security."

Mr White said businesses would soon receive summer stock and would bring their mid-season sales forward. 

"They don't want to be stuck with all their winter stock so I think a few might bring their sales forward," he said. 

"It has been hard the last two weeks - (sales) just died.

"We are all just trying to make a quid."

Department store Myer responded to a drop in consumer spending by postponing its annual mid-season clearance and unveiling a one-day stock-take sale this week.

In the past two years Myer has launched their mid-year clearance sales around June 5 or 6 and finished by mid-July.

Myer postponed its mid-year clearance for almost two weeks after feedback from customers and in the hope that cooler weather will fuel demand for winter clothing and footwear.

Last week Myer said it had no current plans to delay or bring forward their mid-season sales. 

But after record-breaking autumn temperatures and a sharp drop in consumer sentiment after the Federal budget, retailers have been left holding higher than expected levels of winter stock.

Sales of fashion and accessories slumped 20.2 per cent in the week after the federal budget, according to BDO's Australian Retail Index, while total retail sales fell 5.1 per cent.

According to ANZ-Roy Morgan's weekly survey, consumer confidence dropped another 1.1 points last week, falling to its lowest level since May 2009.

The mid-year sales are crucial to profitability in the July half and usually generate more than 50 per cent of second-half earnings for the major department store chains.

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