Australia: Bushfires keep discouraging shoppers at year outset
Nominal retail sales in January dropped 0.3% over the previous month in seasonally-adjusted terms, following December’s sharper 0.7% fall which had marked a two-and-a-half year low. The reading came significantly below market expectations of a flat reading and suffered significantly from the prolonged bushfire season.
January’s fall was the result of lower sales in department stores, cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services, clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing, other retailing and household goods retailing more than offsetting higher sales in food retailing.
In annual terms, retail sales expanded 2.2% in January, down from December’s 2.4% increase. Meanwhile, annual average growth in retail sales inched down from December’s 2.7% to 2.6% in the first month of this year.