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Retailers appear to be expecting a soft trading environment over the next few months according to figures published in the latest CHEP retail index, a key indicator for ABS retail trade data.

However, the report highlighted moderate retail sales growth in the past three months bolstered by solid growth in February as an indicator of a potential improvement in retail sales for 2018.

The index suggested that further modest improvement in retail sales growth for 2018 could be expected with recent strong employment growth and a likely pickup in wage growth leading to higher consumer spending.

Key figures from the Index included a 2.6% year-on-year retail turnover growth of $26 billion to the month of March 2018 with year-on-year figures for the month of May static at 2% consistently.

On a quarterly basis, the report showed a 2.6% year-on-year growth for the March quarter and moving to 2.3% year-on-year for the June 2018 quarter.

Deloitte Access Economics partner David Rumbens said that retailers should be optimistic as a growth in employment should lead to future retail spending.

“Retail sales growth remains modest with consumers experiencing little wages growth and confidence remaining fragile.

“However, a particularly weak patch for retail sales in the second half of 2017 appears to be behind us.

“The stunning growth in employment that we continue to witness should lend some support to retail spending in the near term.”

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