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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.

 

[Feb 18 – Household Goods Retailing – ABS]

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.

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