Chief Economist CreditorWatch Economics News Retail sales
2 mins read

Retail sales down in October as consumers wait for Back Friday

Retail sales fell an overall 0.2 per cent over the month of October, after recording rises in spending in both preceding months. For discretionary goods categories, this is to be expected, as many consumers will have chosen to hold off on spending for Black Friday sales, which are currently in progress. We expect that all categories of goods spending will see a good lift in spending in November due to these sales, following patterns that have emerged in recent years.

The area of spending that is not impacted by Black Friday, cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services, recorded a second straight fall in spending, after bucking the trend in other discretionary categories for many months. Spending in this category fell by 0.4 per cent and is now back to July 2023 levels. This indicates that consumers have finally started to pull back on dining out, in the face of cost-of-living pressures and rising interest rates.

What is concerning is that this sector already well and truly tops the rankings for external administrations by Industry. In the 12 months to December 2023, one in 100 food and beverage services businesses went into external administration. There are now rising headwinds in this sector, as demand falls, the ATO calls in large GST and other tax debts, and labour, rent and energy costs all continue to rise. The food and beverage sector is also the second highest ranked industry for payment arrears (behind construction), with 9.3 per cent of total invoices more than 60 days in arrears.

October 2023 CreditorWatch Business Risk Index (BRI)
Chief Economist economic insight economist economy news retail retail trade
Anneke Thompson
Chief Economist, CreditorWatch
Anneke joined CreditorWatch as Chief Economist in April 2022. She is a specialist researcher and commentator on issues impacting the credit industry, SMEs and the broader economy, conducting regular presentations to corporate groups. She is also a media spokesperson for CreditorWatch, regularly appearing on national television and in syndicated media. Anneke is also the Managing Director of Clio Research and formerly the National Director and National Head of Research at Colliers International Australia. She has also worked at NAB and Jones Lang LaSalle.
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