Australia: April registers first drop in retail sales this year
Nominal retail sales in April dipped 0.1% over the previous month in seasonally-adjusted terms, swinging from March’s 0.3% uptick. This contrasted market expectations of a 0.2% increase. April’s reading suggests households are still feeling the pinch of subdued wage growth, a steep housing downturn, and high levels of debt.
April’s decline came on the back of lower sales in clothing, footwear and personal accessory; cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services; and household goods retailing. Meanwhile, sales in department stores as well as food retailing increased.
In annual terms, retail sales expanded 4.2% in April, notably up from March’s 1.7% increase. Meanwhile, annual average growth in retail sales rose to 3.1% from March’s 2.8%.