AU: Retail Sales

May 31, 2017 08:30 CDT

Consensus Actual Previous Revised
Month over Month 0.3% 1.0% -0.1% -0.2%
Year over Year 3.1% 2.1% 2.2%

Retail sales in Australia increased 1.0 percent (seasonally adjusted) in April after a fall of 0.2 percent in March, beating the consensus forecast for a gain of 0.3 percent. This is the strongest monthly gain since 2014.

This strength in headline retail sales in April reflected month-on-month increases in all major categories, including food retailing (1.2 percent), cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (1.1 percent), department stores (2.5 percent), clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (0.3 percent), household goods retailing (0.4 percent), and other retailing (0.6 percent).

Turnover also rose in all eight Australian states and territories in April, with Queensland, the third most populous state, seeing the biggest increase on the month of 2.4 percent. Sales in the two most populous state, New South Wales and Victoria, rose 0.1 percent and 1.0 percent on the month respectively.

Seasonally adjusted retail sales advanced 3.1 percent in year-on-year terms in April, up from the 2.2 percent growth recorded in March.

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.