Sensis survey: retail is on the way back

Now that the restrictions are no longer in place, the retail sector is heading in the right direction with 22% of businesses reporting an increase in profitability over the past three months, according to the November Sensis Business Index.

The 22% in retail was higher than the 16% of all small businesses that reported an increase in profitability.

The survey found that the retail sector has stopped some of the bleeding and is stabilising across full-time, part-time and casual employees.

The reduction in full-time employees is still 23% but down from 27% the previous month; 59% stayed the same, up from 54%; and there was a 5% of businesses increasing full-time employees compared to 4% last month.

There was a slight increase in part-time employees being shed – up to 23% from 20% – but 45% stayed the same, up from 40%; and there was a 5% increase in employees, up from 4%.

Sensis CEO John Allan says the survey showed retail had recovered quicker than many other sectors: “16% reported that they were well ahead of where they are before the pandemic compared to 12% of all sectors. An additional 23% said they were already back to pre Covid-19 levels.”

30% of businesses in the retail sector said they were getting JobKeeper with 33% saying that when it ceases at the end of March it will have a major impact on their business. 56% said it would have a moderate impact and 11% said it would make no difference.

Other interesting findings from the Sensis survey were:

  • 31% of retail businesses had reported an increase in revenue.
  • 29% expect to increase their profitability over the next three months with 21% expecting a decrease in profitability and 48% expecting no change.
  • 14% expect to increase their workforce over the next three months with 69% expecting no change and 14% expecting to decrease their workforce.
  • 34% are more confident than they were three months ago, 24% are less confident and for 42% no change.
  • 14% are extremely confident about the next six months, 42% fairly confident, 16% no difference, 22% fairly worried and 6% extremely worried.
  • 30% believe the national economy will be better in a year, 42% believe it will be worse and 28% believe it will be the same.
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