Getty/ Dan Kitwood

Australian retail sales for August are out and it’s a marginal beat on expectations.

Sales were up 0.4%, against market predictions of 0.3% and a 0.1% increase in July.

The retail sector is one of the most keenly-watched by investors because it reflects consumers’ inclination to open their wallets. As the biggest employer sector in the national economy, strong performance has a huge knock on effect.

The big surprise was that department stores, which have been lagging badly in the face of online competitors, have been

Both David Jones and Myer suffered in the southern winter months, which was unusually warm. But this forced them into discounting and aggressive stock management.

The ABS report is here.

We’ll have more shortly.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook and Twitter

NOW WATCH: Money & Markets videos

Want to read a more in-depth view on the trends influencing Australian business and the global economy? BI / Research is designed to help executives and industry leaders understand the major challenges and opportunities for industry, technology, strategy and the economy in the future. Sign up for free at