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Retail forecasts for 2023

Brace for impact this year

11 January 2023

It is inevitable that Australian retail sales growth will be much weaker in 2023 compared with 2022. We forecast industry sales growth at 2%, down from 11% last year. Many are anticipating that retail spending will fall off a cliff. However, volumes are already weak. It is price inflation that is supporting above trend spending. We expect inflation to taper off gradually, which means a more visible downturn in retail sales in the July-December 2023 period in our view. The categories most vulnerable to an earlier slowdown are furniture, hardware and recreational goods where we forecast a decline this year. In the food sector, elevated inflation will support growth of 5% in 2023. The risks to our retail forecasts are to the upside if inflation is higher and households dip into their excess savings built up over the past three years.

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