Retail sales rise 0.6 per cent as sales start early

An early start to end-of-financial-year sales lured in bargain-hunters last month, contributing to a larger-than-expected 0.6 per cent lift in retail sales.

The monthly gain beat the 0.3 per cent month-on-month consensus forecast and followed a modest 0.1 per cent rise in April.

In March, sales as tracked by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) fell 0.4 per cent.

ABS head of business statistics Robert Ewing said retail turnover was boosted by watchful shoppers taking advantage of early end-of-financial year sales.

“Retail businesses continue to rely on discounting and sales events to stimulate discretionary spending, following restrained spending in recent months.”

In trend terms, underlying spending remains “stagnant”, he said.

Year-on-year, retail trade rose 1.7 per cent.

The stronger-than-expected data lands at a time of renewed concern interest rates may need to stay higher for longer or rise further to combat lingering price pressures.

The Reserve Bank of Australia is looking for signs demand is waning and the economy slowing in response to higher interest rates in order to push inflation back to target.


Poppy Johnston
(Australian Associated Press)


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