BUSINESS expectations have dropped following a softer-than-expected March quarter, according to Dun & Bradstreet’s April Australian Business Expectations Survey.
The survey revealed lower sales, profits, employment, selling prices and capital investment in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the final quarter of 2016.
Dun & Bradstreet economic adviser Stephen Koukoulas said the business sector had indicated a deterioration in conditions into the second half of the year and 2017 looked to be a challenging year for retailers.
He said despite a generally positive outlook for businesses in the early part of 2017, the actual performance slumped to its weakest level since quarter two of 2013.
“The weakest segment in the survey was retail trade, with expectations weakening and the actual performance in the March quarter turning negative,” Mr Koukoulas said.
“This fits with the official data on retail spending, which has been very soft in the post-Christmas period.
“Weak wages growth is dampening consumer demand, as is the emergence of additional competitors. ”
Each month Dun & Bradstreet asks a sample of executives if they expect an increase, decrease or no change in sales, profits, employees, capital investment and selling prices compared to a year ago.