Retail sales in Australia have been very solid lately, both on the traditional bricks-and-mortar basis and online.
But in a small sign that the Australian economy might be edging off its recent peak the NAB monthly index of online retail sales for February showed that the recent strong sales growth has stalled “with trends weaker for most categories”.
The NAB said:
Online retail sales were virtually flat in February. In seasonally adjusted three month moving average terms online sales expanded 0.1% (from a 1.1% increase in January). The flat result for February comes after the relatively strong November to January period.
This took the index slightly lower to 239 from 242 previously to a value of $15 billion through the year to February.
While online sales make up only 6.5% of their bricks and mortar equivalent on a like for like basis they have been a solid lead for traditional ABS retail sales over the past few months. So the fact that the NAB said there was “uniform slowing in conditions at the category level” might be a warning to the market on traditional retail sales due out at 11.30am tomorrow.