Several distributors and retailers remain optimistic about the state of the market, despite a substantial hit to consumer sales during February.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures showed an overall seasonally adjusted decrease of 2 per cent for February to $18.8 billion. This compares to a 3.8 per cent increase in December, and 0.5 per cent rise January.
However, Australian turnover increased by 0.5 per cent on the same month last year, and IT spending appears to be relatively sheltered. Australian Retailers Association (ARA) spokesperson, Michael Lonie, said the results were better than expected and claimed it actually predicted a weaker result.
“February is usually a down month, and we came off some very good trading months in December and January, which accounts for the dramatic fall,” he said. “We’re coming off the back of eight or nine really good years. It’s part of the natural cycle that there will be a downturn, but people are panicking at the slightest sign of trouble.”
Sydney-based distributor, Anyware Computer Accessories, said it experienced a similar drop in February, but claimed things picked back up in March.
“The quick pick up in March counteracted the drop in sales in February, which was nothing out of the ordinary,” national retail channel manager, Melita
Medina, said. “We’re optimistic about the state of retail at the moment – provided distributors focus on building relationships with the key retailers, there’s plenty of business out there.”
Manaccom managing director, Ian Mackay, was pleased with the figures, which suggested the consumer IT segment was buoyant.
“Our sales are strong, and retailers willing to invest in promotions should do well,” he said. “It is impossible to guess what will happen in the coming months, as the market is entirely dependent on confidence, but the ABS statistics were very positive.”
Harvey Norman computers and communications general manager, Luke Naish, said the retailer was also happy with its IT sales.
“We’ve had growth and continued unit expansion,” he said. “We’ve run some aggressive promotional campaigns, so some of that result can be attributed to an increase in market share.
“We expect things to get tougher at the back end of Q2 and into Q3.”