D&B 200Retail and services sectors shrug off consumer concerns

Business owners are optimistic about seeing a jump in sales during the run-up to Christmas, with retailers and the services industry lifting their forecasts for the final quarter of the year despite signs that consumer confidence in Australia is faltering. According to Dun & Bradstreet’s latest Business Expectations Survey, 47 per cent of businesses expect higher sales levels compared to last year, while 11 per cent forecast a decline and 42 per cent similar trade. This positive outlook has lifted the sales expectations index to 36.2 points, up from 7.9 points at the same time last year.

Despite disappointing figures from the ABS showing sales growth of just 0.1 per cent during August, concerns over consumer confidence, and a worrying rise in Dun & Bradstreet’s Consumer Financial Stress Index, the retail and services sectors expect consumers to open their wallets in the months ahead. The retail sales index has risen to 27.1 points, up from 9.7 points last year, while the services sales index has jumped to 43.4 points, up from 4.0 points in 2013. Expectations for increased has trade lifted across all other sectors surveyed, with the sales index for wholesalers hitting 41.7 points (up from 8.8); construction: 29.1 points (up from 0.2); transport, communications, utilities: 41.8 points (up from 8.1 points), and finance, insurance, real estate: 39.7 points (up from 7.2).

2014 Q4 Bus Exp Australia

According to Dun & Bradstreet director Steve Brown, businesses look set to finish 2014 in relatively healthy shape. “While we often see an uptick in business expectations for the Christmas period, the current outlook appears stronger and more broad-based than recent years,” said Mr Brown. “In addition to higher sales and profits, expectations for increased capital investment and employment are stronger than in 2013, borrowing intentions are stable, and the proportion of businesses more optimistic about growth this year, compared to last year, is holding at the 60 per cent mark.” “These latest numbers consolidate 12-months of generally positive expectations from the business sector. Questions remain, however, on the health of consumer finances, and whether Australians are willing and able to increase their discretionary spending over the next few months.”

To read the full report click on this link: DB Business Expectations Survey – Q4 2014 – final indices

For further information contact:
Josh Maher
Manager, Communications & Corporate Affairs
+61 3 9828 3644
+61 498 142 567

Source:  Dun & Bradstreet Australia