Australia: Retail sales disappoint in September
November 4, 2019
Nominal retail sales in September rose a timid 0.2% over the previous month in seasonally-adjusted terms, following August’s stronger 0.4% increase. The reading came significantly below market expectations of a 0.5% increase and suggests monetary and fiscal stimulus is not bolstering household spending, which is being restrained by subdued wage growth and elevated levels of debt.
September’s uptick came on the back of higher sales in other retailing, cafes, restaurants and takeaway services, and food retailing. On the other hand, sales in clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing and department stores dipped.
In annual terms, retail sales expanded 2.0% in September, down from August’s 2.9% increase. Meanwhile, annual average growth in retail sales inched down to 2.8% from August’s 2.9%.
With September’s data, retail sales dipped 0.1% in inflation-adjusted terms over the previous quarter, suggesting the contribution to growth of private consumption was muted in the third quarter. The release of the weak September figures led to a depreciation of the Australian dollar.