|Month over Month||0.4%||-0.1%||0.7%|
|Year over Year||4.2%||4.9%|
July retail sales surprised and slipped 0.1 percent expectations were for an increase of 0.4 percent on the month. Sales advanced 0.6 percent in June. From a year ago, sales were up 4.2 percent after increasing 4.9 percent in June. Among the categories that increased on the month were clothing, footwear & personal accessory retailing (2.9 percent), department stores (1.3 percent) and cafes, restaurants & takeaway food services (0.3 percent). Food retailing was relatively unchanged. Household goods retailing (down 1.9 percent) and other retailing (down 0.6 percent) retreated after increasing the month before.
Sales were up in Queensland (0.3 percent), Western Australia (0.3 percent) and the Northern Territory (0.1 percent). Tasmania was relatively unchanged. There were declines in New South Wales (down 0.2 percent), South Australia (down 0.8 percent), Victoria (down 0.2 percent) and the Australian Capital Territory (down 0.2 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.
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