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Friday, 5 February 2016
Quarterly retail solid
Retail trade flat in December
An unremarkable set of Retail Trade numbers, with the focus likely to fall on the December result which was flat in seasonally adjusted terms (and up by +0.3 per cent in trend terms), comfortably missing expectations.
Over the quarter, in volume terms retail sales were up by a reasonably solid +0.6 per cent, seasonally adjusted, with moderately positive implications for Q4 GDP.
In chain volume measures terms, the final quarter of 2015 was certainly a weak one for Western Australia (-0.8 per cent).
Looking at annual retail turnover growth, nationally the rate of growth ticked back to +4.2 per cent, but this remains quite some way above the half decade average of +3.7 per cent.
State versus state
In terms of retail turnover (current prices), Queensland had a promising quarter recording a tidy increase of +1.45 per cent.
It was not such a pretty picture in Western Australia, however, where retail turnover declined by -0.6 per cent over the quarter, while Tasmania's mini-boom in retail may now be flatlining.
Over the past year much of the growth in retail has been seen in the household goods sector, reflecting the obvious strength of the Sydney and Melbourne property markets, but this may now be rolling over.
Clothing and food retailing had a decent month, but elsewhere the results at the end of Q4 clearly weren't quite so hot. In Q4 even the ever-popular cafes, restaurants and takeaways sector (aka. the "dining boom") recorded lacklustre results.
Overall this was a disappointing result for December, but the figures were passable for the final quarter of the year. Some storm clouds on the horizon in Western Australia, perhaps?