Australia Retail


Retail sales unexpectedly contract in March

In March, nominal retail sales contracted 0.4% over February, which contrasted the 1.3% rise recorded in the previous month and market expectations of a 0.1% rise.

Despite the monthly contraction, retail sales accelerated from a 1.0% year-on-year increase in February to a 2.4% rise in March. That said, despite the stronger annual growth, the trend still points downwards, as annual average growth in retail sales fell from 3.1% in February to 2.9% in March.

In addition, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) also released quarterly figures for retail trade in real terms. In the first quarter, retail trade rose 2.2% compared to the previous three-month period, which was above the 0.1% rise in Q4 2012 and market expectations of a 1.7% rise. FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panellists see private consumption growing 2.4% in 2013, which is unchanged from last month's forecast. For next year, the panel sees private consumption expanding 3.1%.

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Australia Retail Chart

Australia Retail March 2013

Note: Month-on-month seasonally adjusted and annual variation of retail sales index in %.
Source: Australia Bureau of Statistics and FocusEconomics calculations.

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