Feb Retail Sales Soar, Double Forecast
Australian retail sales soared 0.6% in February to $24.45 billion [in seasonally adjusted terms] – the highest percentage increase since November last year. The result is double economists’ expectations for a 0.3% lift.
Following January’s revised retail sales growth of 0.2%, the annual increase in retail sales jumped from 2.1% to 3% – notably the fastest rise since July 2017.
Retail sales increased in most sub-categories, spurned by the timing of Chinese New Year.
According to industry, “household goods retailing” led the charge, climbing 1.1% in the period.
‘Electrical and electronic goods retailing’ hiked 0.1%.
‘Department stores’ also notched a welcome improvement, posting a 1.5% increase, following three months of declines. ‘Other retailing’ rose 0.2%.
The results reflect improved discretionary spending – the largest increase since November last year. November’s results were influenced by the release of Apple’s new iPhones.
As previously reported, consumer sentiment has also recently improved, with interest rates starting to rise.
On a state-by-state basis, QLD and WA were the only ones to post declines, 0.6% and 0.3% respectively. Retail sales in NSW and VIC jumped 1.1% during the period.