Aussies not tempted by 'aggressive discounting'

Australian retailers will have to continue slashing prices if they are to encourage the country's nervous consumers to start spending big again.

That is according to Commsec economist Savanth Sebastian, who told that Australia's weak December sales figures reflected consumer conservatism, as well as a failure among retailers to attract shoppers.

He was commenting after Australian Bureau of Statistics figures showed that retail sales rose by just 0.2 per cent in December and actually fell by 0.3 per cent over the quarter to $59.82 billion.

"Retailers were hoping for a big pick up in volumes and that didn't occur," noted Mr Sebastian.

"Overall, to look at the result you'd say the Australian economy is soft [at the moment] and the retail sector will have to continue to discount."

Consumers aiming to boost their spending power could also choose to compare debit cards and other money products in search of the best options. According to Mr Sebastian, retailers must quickly pass on savings from the strong Australian dollar to shoppers if they wish to see people returning to the high street.

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