Thursday, 24 January, 2019

November Retail Sales Beat Forecast

Retailers get a boost from Black Friday sales, as shoppers bring forward Christmas spending Australian retail sales receive a boost from Black Friday sales
Jean Garcia | 13 January, 2019, 04:00

This fall is partly due to high sales in November 2017 when there were major mobile phone launches.

Cumulative credit card spending through the CBA's network fell 3.7% between November to early January compared to the levels of a year earlier, underscoring the risk of weakness in the December retail sales report.

Overall sales fell by 3 per cent on the previous year - more sharply than economists polled by Bloomberg had foreseen - after clocking two months of growth, including a modest 0.1 per cent rise in October.

Seasonally adjusted retail spending was $27.12 billion for the month, up from $26.99 billion in October, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics data released on Friday.

"More Australians are shopping online, with the ABS estimating that 6.6 per ent of total spending was done on the web in November, up from 5.5 per cent of total spending in November 2017", she said.

In seasonally adjusted terms there were rises in New South Wales (0.8 per cent), Queensland (0.4 per cent), Western Australia (0.6 per cent), the Australian Capital Territory (1.6 per cent), and Victoria (0.1 per cent).

Even after motor vehicles were taken out of the picture, sales were still down by 0.2 per cent.

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Mr Faulkner said there were also slight increases for food retailing (0.2pc) and department stores (0.4pc), but declines for restaurant and takeaway services (-0.1pc).

Excluding food sales, turnover increased by 0.6% after seasonal adjustments, the largest increase since August 2018. The steep slowdown, leaving annual growth in sales at the weakest level since May past year, reflects the high base effect created by a huge 1.2% increase in turnover that occurred in November 2017.

November turned out to be a solid month for retailers, as shoppers brought forward their Christmas spending.

"Retail Sales data around this time of year are particularly interesting as consumer spending patterns have been shifting", says Ray Attrill, Head of FX Strategy at the National Australia Bank.

Medical goods and toiletries saw growth of 4.8 per cent, on the back of more cosmetics and toiletries being sold, while the furniture industry grew by 3.3 per cent amid higher sales of household equipment. Reports from retailers suggest sales in December were weaker than in November.

However, strong November results means next month's figures, which includes pre-Christmas and Boxing Day sales, could be lacklustre.

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