|Month over Month||0.5%||0.3%||0.0%|
|Year over Year||4.7%||4.1%|
May retail sales were up a less than expected 0.3 percent on the month after declining 0.1 percent the month before. Sales were up 4.7 percent from a year ago.
Sales increased in food retailing (0.7 percent), household goods retailing (0.9 percent) and other retailing (0.3 percent). There were declines in department stores (down1.4 percent), clothing, footwear & personal accessory retailing (down 0.8 percent) and cafes, restaurants & takeaway food services (down 0.2 percent).
Regionally, sales were up in New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania. South Australia and the Northern Territory were relatively unchanged. Sales declined in Victoria.
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.
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