AU: Retail Sales

Tue Apr 03 20:30:00 CDT 2018

Actual Previous Revised
Month over Month 0.6% 0.1% 0.2%
Year over Year 3.0% 2.1%

Retail sales in Australia advanced 0.6 percent on the month (seasonally adjusted) in February after increasing 0.2 percent in January, above the consensus forecast of 0.3 percent. Seasonally adjusted retail sales increased 3.0 percent on the year in February, picking up from 2.1 percent in January.

The increase in headline retail sales growth in February reflects stronger month-on-month increases in all but one of the major categories of spending. Sales for food retailing, the largest category, rose 0.3 percent on the month after an increase of 0.1 percent in January, while sales for household retailing, the second largest category, rose 1.1 percent after 0.1 percent previously. The "other retailing" category was the only one to record weaker growth in February.

Sales advanced on the month in February in six of the eight Australian states and territories, including gains of 1.1 percent in the two most populous states, New South Wales and Victoria. Sales fell 0.3 percent in the third most populous state, Queensland.

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.