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December Oz Retail Sales Drop 1.3%, CE Climbs

Following November’s 1.3% uptick, retail sales in December came in significantly lower than expected – dropping 0.5% versus 0.2% forecast.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) report reveals December’s retail sales notched $26.26 billion (seasonally adjusted terms).

The annual pace of sales slipped from 2.9% in November to 2.5%.

“Household good retailing” fell 2.6%, and “other retailing” dipped 1.8%.

By contrast, “electrical and electronic goods retailing” climbed 0.7%. The seasonally adjusted estimate for the sector fell 4.7%.

Reports state the later-than-expected launch of the iPhone X, plus Black Friday & Cyber Monday sales contributed to November’s booming results.

[ABS – Household Goods Retailing Dec 2017]

 At current, retail sales volumes represent 30% of household consumption – a category which contributes just below 60% of Australia’s GDP.

Apart from Queensland – which remained relatively flat – all other Australian states posted broad-based declines.

Victoria (-0.8%), New South Wales (-0.4 %), Western Australia (-0.8%), Tasmania (-1.6%), Australian Capital Territory (-1.5%), South Australia (-0.3%), Northern Territory (-0.7%).

Despite December’s disappointing result, the ABS states quarterly sales notched a 0.9% lift (seasonally adjusted chain volumes):

“Turnover rose 0.9% in the December quarter 2017 following a rise of 0.1% in the September quarter”

“The rise in volumes was led by household goods (3.4%), which benefited from strong promotions and the release of the iPhone X in November”.

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