Retail sales continue to slow - MacroBusiness

Retail sales continue to slow

By Leith van Onselen

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has just released retail sales figures for the month of January, which registered a 0.4% seasonally-adjusted rise in sales over the month, meeting economist’s expectations. Annual sales growth clocked in at 3.6% and are slowing fast:

ScreenHunter_6385 Mar. 05 11.37

The below chart maps out seasonally-adjusted sales growth by segment on a monthly and annual basis:

ScreenHunter_6386 Mar. 05 11.39

As you can see, this month’s rise was led by department stores (+2.2%), cafes, restaurants and takeaway food (+2.0%), and “other” retailing (+1.0%), whereas sales actually dropped in food retailing (-0.7%) and clothing, footwear and personal accessories (-0.1%).

On an annual basis, household goods retailing (+8.7%) clearly led the charge – no doubt assisted by the housing boom – followed by cafes, restaurants and takeaway food (+5.0%).

At the state and territory level, Tasmania (+1.9%) and Queensland (+1.2%) experienced the strongest sales growth over February, whereas the ACT (-1.9%), Northern Territory (-1.8%), and South Australia (-0.1%) went backwards.

Over the year, the main housing ‘boom’ states of New South Wales (+5.2%) and Victoria (+3.7%) have lead the charge, with strong property price growth likely the primary driver (see next chart).

ScreenHunter_6387 Mar. 05 11.40

The next chart plots annual retail sales growth in trend terms, and shows sales growth falling away sharply in discretionary and non-discretionary retail, although department store sales are recovering (see next chart).

ScreenHunter_6388 Mar. 05 11.47

Retail sales continue to slow - MacroBusiness.