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Oz Department Store Spending Hits New High

Australians continue to spend through the inflation and the interest rate rises, with retail turnover rising for the eighth consecutive month.

Spending in department stores rose by 2.8 per cent in August to hit a new record level of $1.925 billion for the month. This is according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Overall retail turnover also continued to break records, rising 0.6 per cent in August, to hit $34.88 billion.

This follows a 1.3 per cent rise in July, and a more modest 0.2 per cent rise in June.

Spending on household goods had its largest rise since March 2022, up 2.6 per cent, and recovering from three drops over the past four months.

This continues a trend that started during the last half of FY22 — when Myer reported its strongest second-half profits since 2013 — and rolled through the first six weeks of the new financial year.

During that six-week period from the start of July, department store sales jumped 74.8 per cent, up a healthy 21.8 per cent against pre-pandemic levels.

Despite this continued spending, cracks are beginning to show.

Other retailing fell for the first time, following five consecutive monthly rises, down 2.5 per cent.

Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing also recorded its largest fall this year, down 2.3 per cent in August, following two consecutive rises.

Ben Dorber, head of retail statistics at the ABS, credits the food industries for the overall rise.

“This month’s rise was driven by the combined increase in food related industries, with cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services up 1.3 per cent and food retailing up 1.1 per cent,” he said.

“While households continue to spend, non-food industry results were mixed and only contributed a small amount to the total rise in retail turnover.”

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