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

Getty/Dan Kitwood

Australia’s retail sales report for August will be released later on this morning.

Accounting for around 30% of household consumption, the largest component within Australian GDP, this report has suddenly taken on increased significance given the RBA’s observation in its October monetary policy statement that it “appears to have slowed a little recently”. It’s on the RBA’s radar.

Here’s the state of play.

  • Retail sales have been disappointing in 2016, and July’s report was no exception. Sales came in flat, bucking expectations for an increase of 0.3%.
  • In the past three months, national sales rose by just 0.2%, the weakest quarterly gain since since May 2014.
  • At $25.015 billion, sales increased by just 2.7% over the past 12 months, the slowest pace seen since July 2013.
  • By category, sales of clothing, footwear and personal accessories, “other” goods and at cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services recorded the fastest growth over the past year at 6%, 4.6% and 3.7% respectively.
  • At the other end of the spectrum, sales at department stores fell 3.8%.
  • Sales of household goods, the fastest growing category in recent years, continued to decelerate, slowing to just 1.5%. Food sales, the largest category by dollar spend, increased by 2.6% over the past year.
  • By state and territory, sales growth in New South Wales and Victoria — the most most populous states — grew by 2.6% and 3.2% respectively over the past 12 months.
  • Sales in the Northern Territory and Western Australia, at -0.1% and 0.5%, recorded the weakest performance over the same period. At 5.7% and 5.1%, sales in the ACT and Tasmania saw the fastest growth over the past year.
  • Looking ahead to the August retail sales report, a modest increase of 0.2% is expected. Of 24 economists polled by Bloomberg, forecasts range from flat sales growth to an increase of 0.7%.

The ABS will release the report at 11.30am AEST.

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

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