The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has just released retail sales figures for the month of January, which registered a seasonally-adjusted 0.9% increase over the month versus an expected 0.4% rise. The increase in sales arrested three consecutive months of falls between October and December. The result was flattered by a downward revision to December’s figures to -0.4% from -0.2% previously.
Retail sales appear to have recovered after a correction in the wake of the one-off spike caused by compensation payments for the introduction of the carbon tax, with annual sales growth at 3.0% currently (see next chart):
Retail sales remain weak in the southern states and territories and relatively strong in the resource states and territories, with New South Wales tracking in between:
Finally, monthly retail sales were positive is all categories, except department stores, where sales remain in the gutter: