Australian shoppers boost November retail sales to five-month highs

Shoppers at department store Metro’s Paragon outlet on Black Friday on Nov 23 2018

Shoppers at department store Metro’s Paragon outlet on Black Friday on Nov 23 2018

Meanwhile, the optical goods and books segment posted a sales decline of 4.6 per cent, while food retailers' takings fell by 3.7 per cent and supermarkets and hypermarkets were down by 1.4 per cent.

Overall sales fell by 3 per cent on the previous year - more sharply than economists polled by Bloomberg had foreseen - after clocking two months of growth, including a modest 0.1 per cent rise in October.

Ben Faulkner, the acting director of quarterly economy-wide surveys at the ABS noted that the highest performing shopping categories for the month, namely, clothing, footwear and personal accessories, benefitted from in-store and online sales during November.

The retail sales increased 0.2 percent month-on-month on a seasonally adjusted basis in November, compared to a 0.3-percent decrease in October.

"Retail turnover from online sales continues to increase at a high rate and this can be attributed to the rise in popularity of events such as Click Frenzy and Cyber Monday, combined with the fact that buying online is a convenient option for many shoppers", she said in a statement Friday afternoon.

As expected, there was a significant rise in online sales, contributing 6.6 per cent to total retail turnover in November.

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Compared to November 2017, the trend estimate rose 3.6 per cent.

In seasonally adjusted terms there were spending jumps in New South Wales (0.8 per cent), Queensland (0.4 per cent), Western Australia (0.6 per cent), the Australian Capital Territory (1.6 per cent), and Victoria (0.1 per cent). The Australian dollar has since spiked over 0.2% to 72 United States cents.

Separately, sales of food and beverage services were up by 2.4 per cent year on year, to a value of S$845 million.

Australian government bonds traded flat during Asian session Friday as investors remain sidelined in quiet trading session despite better-than-expected November retail sales data.

The slowdown leaves annual sales growth at its lowest levels since around May 2018. "Kathmandu's recent profit warning, suggest sales in December were weaker than in November".

"As such, markets will likely interpret any strong November Retail Sales outcome with a degree of caution - a solid result could easily be offset by a weaker December result due to these shifting seasonal spending patterns".

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