Westpac finds Consumers feeling a tad more confident

Margy Osmond 


Consumer confidence showed a slight uplift in March - up two per cent to 110.5 per cent - in the latest Westpac-Melbourne Institute Index of Consumer Sentiment.

However, it`s not always the sentiment that counts, particularly in the retail sector where improved consumer confidence has failed to result in consumers spending enough to spur a recovery, according to Australian National Retailers Association CEO Margy Osmond.

"The increase in sentiment is welcome and we hope it indicates the Reserve Bank of Australia`s moves to lower the cash rate are starting to have an impact on family budgets. However, it appears households are still choosing the bank as the best place to put their money." she said.



"There were, however, good indicators in terms of general feeling towards the economy. Australian families increased their view of family finances versus a year ago by 3.9 per cent and their outlook into the future also increased" up 3.1 per cent.

"Another bright spot in this report is that fewer people are looking to pay down debt - that has fallen to 18 per cent from 22 per cent a year ago - indicating people are becoming more comfortable with debt levels and may again move to spend."

"Despite a good start to the year with January retail figures up 0.9 per cent retailers will remain cautiously optimistic about the prospect of recovery in 2013. There are some good signs in these latest confidence figures to indicate sentiment might not be all that counts, but it`s a step in the right direction for the sector." Osmond said.

Source:   Stationery News email newsletter 25th March 2013.

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