Australia Retail December 2018


Australia: Weak Christmas shopping prompts the sharpest contraction in retail sales in a year

February 5, 2019

Nominal retail sales in December contracted 0.4% over the previous month in seasonally-adjusted terms, following November’s revised 0.5% expansion (previously reported: +0.4% month-on-month). This was well below market expectations of a softer 0.1% drop. As November’s retail sales were boosted by Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, sales in December came in particularly weak. Moreover, subdued wage growth, dropping house prices and a hefty stock of household debt continue to weigh on consumers’ spending.

Shrinking sales in household goods, as well as in clothing and footwear led the contraction, partially offset by higher sales in food retailing and cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services.

In annual terms, retail sales expanded 2.2% in December, down from November’s 3.3% increase. Meanwhile, annual average growth in retail sales in December inched up to 3.0% from November’s 2.9%.

FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists see private consumption growing 2.5% in 2019, which is unchanged from last month’s forecast. For 2020, the panel expects private consumption to expand 2.7%.

Author: Massimo Bassetti, Senior Economist

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Australia Retail Chart

Australia Retail December 2018

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

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