AU: Retail Sales

August 31, 2016 08:30 CDT

Consensus Actual Previous
Month over Month 0.3% 0.0% 0.1%
Year over Year 2.7% 2.8%

July retail sales were unchanged on the month after inching up 0.1 percent the month before. Expectations were for an increase of 0.3 percent. On the year, retail turnover was up 2.7 percent, unchanged from June.

Among the subcategories, food retailing increased 0.7 percent, cafes, restaurants & takeaway food services gained 1.2 percent, other retailing edged up 0.2 percent and clothing, footwear & personal accessory retailing was 0.3 percent higher. However, turnover declined in department stores (down 6.2 percent) and household goods retailing (down 0.7 percent).

Turnover was up in Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, the Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania and the Northern Territory. However turnover declined in Victoria and New South Wales.

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.