Your 10-second guide to today's Australian retail sales report

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Later this morning the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) will release its March retail sales report. Although not as much of a market mover as it once was, there’s likely to more interest than usual on today’s report, not least because of weakness seen in recent months.

Here’s the state of play.

  • In February retail sales came in flat, missing expectations for an increase of 0.4%. It was the third month in a row that the figure missed expectations.
  • Compared to a year earlier, turnover rose 3.3% to $24.838 billion, the slowest increase in percentage terms since September 2013.
  • Sales in department stores recorded the largest increase in percentage terms over the same time period, rising 7%.
  • Non-mining states and territories continued to outperform their mining peers with sales in the ACT, New South Wales and Victoria registering gains of 7.7%, 4.6% and 4.8% respectively over the past year.
  • At the other end of the spectrum, turnover in Western Australia slid 0.2% from February 2015. There were small gains of 1.3%, 0.7% and 3.0% registered in Queensland, the Northern Territory and South Australia.
  • In March, economists are expecting a modest increase in sales of 0.3%.
  • Perhaps of more importance, the ABS will also release quarterly retail turnover, something that strips out price movements to determine the volume of physical sales.
  • As this accounts for around 30% of household consumption — the largest component in Australian GDP — this figure will be influential.
  • Markets are expecting volumes to have increased by a healthy 0.7% following a 0.6% gain in Q4 2015.

The ABS report is scheduled for release at 11.30am AEST.

Business Insider will have full coverage as soon as the data drops.

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