Surge in retail spending buoys Gladstone small businesses

GLADSTONE is experiencing a surge in retail spending, according to recent trends revealed by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The ABS shows retail spending rose 0.2% in March to be 5% higher statewide for the year.

Research from Gladstone Chamber of Commerce and Industry also shows a steady increase in sales.

The State Government claims the increase is due to its red-tape reduction and competitive tax.

GCCI president Rick Hansen said small business operators were buoyed by the activity.

"I'm hearing there's a bit more spending in retail and restaurants," he said.

"According to our Boom or Bust survey in all small businesses, from manufacturing to retail, the mood was confident moving from last year to this year.

"Sixty-five per cent of responses said they would take as much money through the till as they had the year before, while 40% said they were taking more."

Treasurer Tim Nicholls said the rise was ahead of the national increase of 0.1% and meant Queensland's retail spending had risen in each of the past eight months.

"According to this latest ABS release spending was up in the cafe, restaurant and takeaway sector, which saw their fifth consecutive quarter of growth, while spending on household goods was up 3.5%," he said.

"Food spending was up 1.5% while clothing and footwear also increased by 0.1%."

But his good news was underpinned by a warning about the state's finances and its $80 billion debt problem.



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