Sporting goods retailers enjoyed a very merry Christmas with a 14% jump in December sales compared to the year before, according to data from The Australian Retail Index.
The sector, which includes camping gear, games and hobbies, also experienced a 15% increase in November sales, outrunning the fashion, furniture and general sectors in both months compared to 2014.
Overall, Australian retailers saw a 5% growth across each of these sectors.
The Australian Retail Index is produced by Retail Express and BDO and Michael Woodruff, marketing manager at Retail Express, told SmartCompany confidence is looking up across the retail sector.
“I think there’s a lot more confidence in the economy this year as opposed to previous years, and now general opinion is that people are spending both their discretional income on themselves and on doing things that make them happy,” he says.
“They’re also spending their time doing the same things as well I think.”
In second place after sporting goods was the general retail sector, encompassing gift stores, health and leisure goods, which experienced 8% growth in December.
Losing out was fashion, which saw a 2% drop in sales in December and a staggering 18.5% drop on Boxing Day sales.
However, shoppers may have been getting in early, with a 12% increase in fashion sales recorded in November.
Woodruff told SmartCompany that fashion is a volatile sector, and tricky to predict, but the Boxing Day slump was “very surprising”.
However, he notes fashion is a “self-purchase” which may explain the slight downturn.
“The money is still being spent just in other areas,” he says.