Australia’s retail sales report has just been released, and it’s come in below expectations.
Total sales were flat in April, missing analyst forecasts for an increase of 0.3%. From a year earlier sales increased by 4.1%, below the 4.4% pace seen in March and the slowest level seen since January 2015.
The disappointing reading ends a run of ten consecutive monthly gains in retail spending.
According to the ABS sales increased in cafes, restaurants and takeaway food outlets (+0.8%) along with clothing, footwear and and personal accessory retailers (+1.3%). Household goods sales were flat while those for department stores (-0.7%), food retailers (-0.1%) and ‘other’ retailing (-1.0%) all declined.
From April 2014 sales across all categories increased, although the performance varied greatly. Sales as household goods retailers recorded the quickest growth at 8.5% while those for ‘other’ retailers grew by just 0.7%. Food sales, the largest proportion of total sales, grew by a subdued 3.6%.
On a state and territory basis the largest increase in sales was recorded in the ACT which jumped 0.6%. Elsewhere gains were recorded in Victoria (0.5%), South Australia (0.1%) and the Northern Territory (0.1%). New South Wales, the largest proportion of sales nationally, recorded flat growth while Queensland, Tasmania and Western Australia recorded declines of 0.6%, 0.9% and 0.1% respectively.
From a year earlier the ACT and South Australia recorded the fastest growth in sales, 5.9%, while the Northern Territory was the only region to record a decline in sales at -0.7%.