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October Retail Sales Up 0.3%, Online Soars

Australian retail sales remained subdued in October, lifting 0.3% [seasonally adjusted] in line with analyst expectations.

Excluding food (-0.9%), retail turnover jumped 0.5% which some commentators claim presents a better picture of discretionary spending.

Growth was lead by a 2.6% surge in clothing, footwear and personal accessories, rebounding after September’s decline.

Household goods retailing spiked 0.6% [seasonally adjusted], whilst electrical and electronic goods climbed 1%.

Department stores notched a 0.4% lift, as online shopping continues to soar.

For the month of October, online retail accounted for 5.9% of total turnover, up from 4.7% a year ago.

[ABS – October]

[ABS: Household Goods]

[ABS: Department Stores]

As the housing market continues to weaken, commentators attribute increased refurbishment/renovation projects for a jump in furniture spending (+1.4%).

Compared to the previous year, total sales remained similar to September levels – lifting 3.6%, and 3.3% excluding food.

On a state basis, New South Wales suffered the worse, with retail turnover slumping 0.4%,

Despite a soft housing market, the ABS attributes poor weather for the decline in NSW.

Analysts expect consumer spending to remain subdued for some time, alongside the housing market decline.

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