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Retail Sales Up Slightly In May But Remain Weak

Retail sales improved marginally in May, however were still comparatively weak, figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics reveal.

ABS figures show that retail turnover rose 0.2 per cent in May, following a 0.1 per cent rise in April, with total retail spending for the month of $25.02 billion.

As reported by Fairfax Media, the growth rate for May came in below economists’ forecasts of 0.3 per cent.

Political uncertainty in the lead up to the federal election may have been one factor impacting sales.

The eyes of the retail world will now turn to the Reserve Bank of Australia, with the RBA set to decide on interest rates this afternoon. The RBA, which lowered the cash rate by 25 basis points to 1.75 per cent in May, last month left it unchanged.

The ABS figures reveal that in seasonally adjusted terms there were rises in food retailing (0.7 per cent), other retailing (1.4 per cent) and cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (0.3 per cent), while department stores came in flat at 0.0 per cent.

Household goods retailing fell 1.1 per cent, along with clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (down 1.2 per cent).

In seasonally adjusted terms, New South Wales posted a rise of 0.7 per cent, with Victoria (0.6 per cent) and South Australia (0.3 per cent) also posting rises, while Tasmania remained flat at 0.0 per cent.

Western Australia posted a fall of 0.7 per cent, with Queensland (down 0.4 per cent), the Northern Territory (down 0.6 per cent) and the Australian Capital Territory (down 0.3 per cent) also posting declines.


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