Australian Consumers Make Way for Growth in Retail Sales

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Retail sales in Australia were observed to rise by 0.6% month on month in August, consistently increasing since the significant gain in July of 1.3%. This indicates that consumers remain resilient despite the high inflation and continuous price hikes.

According to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the 0.6% increase in retail sales equated to a whopping A$34.9 billion, marking a 19.2% increase from August last year.

Ben Dorber, Head of Retail Statistics in ABS, notes, “This month’s rise was driven by the combined increase in food-related industries, with cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services up 1.3% and food retailing up 1.1%.”

Dorber also states that sales of household goods saw the most significant increase in five months, but retail clothing dropped after a strong performance in July. This improvement allows the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) to increase interest rates continuously.

There is also growth in food-related spending. Food retailing has seen a 1.1% increase monthly, while cafes and restaurants increased by 1.3%. Household products increased by 2.6%, and department stores by 2.8%, a new record level.

Taylor Nugent, Markets Economist from NAB, noted that not all states contributed to the retail sales growth. “By state, sales rose in Tasmania (2.2%), the ACT (1.9%), New South Wales (1.5%), South Australia (1.3%), and Victoria (0.1%). Sales declined in Western Australia (0.2%) and Queensland (-0.1%). Growth in Queensland has been broadly flat since March, and the change since before the pandemic is now around the same for the country as a whole.” Nugent explains.

Despite the increase in retail sales, RBA is still monitoring how households would react to the hit to real incomes and the continuous rise of interest rates. Nugent adds that it is still too early to determine if the consistent increase in interest rates would directly hit cash flow. Still, even if consumer confidence is at low levels, it seems not to translate to reduced spending.


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