AU: Retail Sales

January 9, 2017 06:30 CST

Consensus Actual Previous
Month over Month 0.3% 0.2% 0.5%
Year over Year 3.3% 3.5%

Retail sales in Australia rose by 0.2 percent (seasonally adjusted) in November after an increase of 0.5 percent in October. This was just below the consensus forecast for growth of 0.3 percent and is the weakest monthly growth since July.

Seasonally adjusted retail sales rose 3.3 percent in year-on-year terms in November, down slightly from the 3.5 percent growth recorded in October.

Headline growth in November was driven by higher sales for food retailing (0.4 percent), clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (1.7 percent) and household goods retailing (0.2 percent). These gains were offset by lower sales for cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (minus 0.8 percent), department stores (minus 0.3 percent) and other retailing (minus 0.1 percent).

Turnover rose in five of the eight Australian states and territories in November, with New South Wales and Victoria seeing the biggest gains of 0.5 percent and 0.4 percent respectively. Sales fell by 0.6 percent and 0.4 percent on the month in Western Australia and South Australia respectively.

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.