AU: Retail Sales

August 3, 2016 08:30 CDT

Consensus Actual Previous
Month over Month 0.3% 0.1% 0.2%
Year over Year 2.8% 3.4%

June retail sales edged up a disappointing 0.1 percent following a 0.2 percent increase in May. Expectations were for an increase of 0.3 percent. From a year ago, sales were up 2.8 percent. Sales in the June quarter were up 0.4 percent after increasing 0.5 percent in the March quarter.

Clothing, footwear & personal accessory retailing increased a monthly 3.5 percent, household goods retailing was up 0.3 percent and department stores gained 0.7 percent. However, food retailing declined 0.6 percent, cafes, restaurants & takeaway food services slipped 0.1 percent as did other retailing.

Retail sales were up in Queensland (1.1 percent) and Western Australia (0.1 percent) while sales were virtually unchanged in South Australia. Sales declined in New South Wales (down 0.2 percent), Victoria (down 0.1 percent), the Australian Capital Territory (down 0.6 percent), the Northern Territory (down 1.1 percent) and Tasmania (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.