AU: Retail Sales

Wed Mar 04 18:30:00 CST 2015

Consensus Actual Previous
Month over Month 0.5% 0.4% 0.2%

January retail sales disappointed and were up 0.4 percent against expectations for a 0.5 percent increase on the month. On the year, retail sales were up 3.6 percent. In December, sales gained only 0.2 percent on the month but were 4.1 percent higher on the year.

The largest contributor to the increase was cafes, restaurants & takeaway food services (2.0 percent). Department stores (2.2 percent), other retailing (1.0 percent) and household goods retailing (0.7 percent) also advanced. These were partially offset by declines in food retailing (down 0.7 percent) and clothing, footwear & personal accessory retailing (down 0.1 percent). Online retail turnover contributed 2.8 percent to total retail turnover in original terms.

Retail sales were up in Queensland (1.2 percent), Victoria (0.5 percent), Tasmania (1.9 percent) and Western Australia (0.1. percent). New South Wales was relatively unchanged. Sales declined in the Australian Capital Territory (down 1.9 percent), the Northern Territory (down 1.8 percent) and South Australia (down 0.1 percent).

Retail sales measure the total receipts at stores that sell durable and nondurable goods. The Retail Business Survey covers all employing retail trade businesses who predominantly sell to households.

With consumer spending a large part of the economy, market players continually monitor spending patterns. The pattern in consumer spending is often the foremost influence on stock and bond markets. For stocks, strong economic growth translates to healthy corporate profits and higher stock prices. For bonds, the focus is whether economic growth goes overboard and leads to inflation. Ideally, the economy walks that fine line between strong growth and excessive (inflationary) growth.

Retail sales not only give you a sense of the overall picture, but also the trends among different types of retailers. Especially strong apparel or electronics sales can indicate strength in those industries, for example. These trends from the retail sales data can help you spot specific investment opportunities, without having to wait for a company's quarterly or annual report.