Australian retail sales increased by 0.3% in March, missing expectations for a rise of 0.4%. While below forecast, the annual pace of sales ticked up to 4.5% from 4.3% in February. On a quarterly basis turnover increased by 0.7% after adjusting for price movements. This was below the 1.2% gain of Q4 2014 and forecasts for an increase of 0.9%.
The 0.3% monthly increase took total sales to $A24.126 billion, a record high.
Here’s the report breakdown issued by the ABS.
“In seasonally adjusted terms the largest contributor to the rise was department stores (3.8 per cent), clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (2.2 per cent), food retailing (0.4 per cent) and other retailing (0.1 per cent). There were falls in household goods retailing (-1.0 per cent) and cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (-1.1 per cent).
In seasonally adjusted terms there were rises in Queensland (0.7 per cent), New South Wales (0.3 per cent), Victoria (0.2 per cent), South Australia (0.3 per cent) and Tasmania (0.5 per cent). There were falls in Western Australia (-0.3 per cent), the Australian Capital Territory (-0.5%) and the Northern Territory (-0.8 per cent)”.
Looking at the 12-month performance by category, household goods retailing recorded the largest increase at 7.96%. Having fallen in the year to February, sales at department stores improved dramatically to 5.18%
With the exception of the Northern Territory, all states and territories saw turnover increase from a year earlier. In what is a somewhat surprising outcome, South Australia recorded the largest gain at 6.2%.