The Australian Food Industry Association (AFIA) has released its quarterly sales figures for the March-June period, which includes the release of its annual sales report.
The industry has been buoyed by the introduction of the $7.95 billion new food and beverage tax in September.
However, the numbers for the period, the most recent available, suggest that Australian retail sales have yet to recover.
In its latest quarterly results, the AFA has released a number of positive results, such as an increase in sales from the June quarter, with growth continuing in the quarter ending June 30, 2017.
“This quarter we also achieved a significant gain of 12 per cent to $6.5 billion,” AFA CEO Ian McLeod said in a statement.
“The record-breaking quarter also saw the industry record $7,940 billion in total sales.
This represents a significant increase on the $6,700 billion recorded in the March quarter and the record-setting year-on-year growth of $3,400 billion in 2017.”
This is an important achievement given that the industry has suffered some recent losses, including a loss of $8.2 billion in 2016.
However McLeod cautioned that the data was still subject to volatility and there was still a long way to go.
“We do expect the next quarter to show more positive results as sales continue to improve,” he said.
“However, as we head into the summer and into the new year, there is a chance that some of the positive growth that we saw in the April quarter may have to wait until the end of the year.”
AFA chief executive Ian McLean said he was “really pleased” with the results, particularly in the first quarter of the new tax regime.
“It’s great to see that we’ve now reached a point where we can see real impact, real growth, real benefit in the economy,” he told ABC Radio.
“And we can now look forward to the next six months of a very competitive and stable Australian food market.”
Mr McLeod also pointed out that the economy was growing at a healthy pace, with Australia’s unemployment rate at a record low of 6.1 per cent in May, but the AAFI was also pleased with the figures for this year.
“Despite our strong performance in the Q1 and Q2 of this year, we still see the unemployment rate being lower than it was at the start of the decade,” he explained.
“That is a good sign for our economy and that is a real sign of confidence for our Australian workforce.”
He said the industry had “huge confidence” in the next two quarters, and the results would help the AFT to make its case for a return to a “growth-friendly” tax system.
“As we move into the first half of 2018, we will be very well positioned to make a case for the return to growth-friendly tax arrangements,” he added.
“There are a number factors that will impact on the economy and we are confident that we will all be able to continue to be competitive.”
The first quarter results have been released by the Aftab, which represents the Australian Food, Grocery and Allied Services Industry (AFGIA).
The AFTI has also released its first quarter 2017 results, which have been revised to account for the new AFA sales tax, although the revised numbers show that the growth in the industry will continue in the coming months.
The AFA’s CEO says the results are “good” but not “surprising” given that “the economy is growing at the fastest pace on record”.
“The AFA is pleased with these results,” he continued.
“While some of them have been volatile in the past, these latest results are testament to the strong fundamentals of our industry and are a testament to our continued commitment to the community.”
AFTIA chief executive Steve Legg said the data “shows Australia is heading in the right direction” and “a big step forward for our industry”.
“It is an indication that the Australian economy is moving in the direction we all expect it to go,” he noted.
“Today’s results are another step in the long-term plan for AFTAs growth.”