AU: Retail Sales

Thu Dec 03 18:30:00 CST 2015

Consensus Actual Previous
Month over Month 0.5% 0.5% 0.4%
Year over Year 3.9%

October retail sales were up 0.5 percent as expected following a 0.4 percent increase in September. On the year, sales were 3.9 percent higher. Among the subsectors, food retailing gained 0.6 percent, department stores were up 3.5 percent and household goods retailing added1.1 percent. However, cafes, restaurants & takeaway food services declined 0.6 percent and clothing, footwear & personal accessory retailing slipped 0.1 percent. Other retailing was virtually unchanged.

Retail sales increased in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory. Sales were virtually unchanged in Western Australia.

Australia has managed to evade a recession since 1991 and in recent years thanks to a commodities boom coinciding with China's demand. The Reserve Bank of Australia has been swift to act, cutting rates to a historic low of 2 percent in the hope this will support for consumer spending. Earlier this week data showed that the Australian economy grew more than expected in the third quarter, with GDP rising 0.9 percent on the quarter in the three months to September, compared to economists' forecasts of 0.8 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.