Retail sales bounce back

By Leith van Onselen

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:

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  1. It would seem we are seeing the increase in retail sales that heightened consumer confidence would suggest.

    Once again its off to the races for the Australian economy, expanding retail sales, higher housing prices, lower savings rates, consumers loading up on debt, what could possibly go wrong?

  2. As you can see in the chart, retail has been trending down now for many years, since 2002. This is a demographic change of spending and correlates quite nicely with increased savings since 2004.

  3. One data point doesn’t make a trend.
    It may be indicative of a change and it may not be.