Retail sales inch up 0.1 pc in June, miss expectations

Australian retail sales inched up a tiny 0.1 per cent in June according to the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, missing analyst expectations.

Analysts polled by Reuters typically forecast a rise of 0.4 per cent for the month.

The modest uptick was supported by higher spending on clothes and footwear, which rose 3.5 per cent for the month, with household goods retailing and department stores also enjoying an increase.

But food retailing fell 0.6 per cent, while people went out to cafes, restaurants and bought takeaway food less often, with the ABS noting a slip of 0.1 per cent.

Turnover for the June quarter came in at $72.7 billion, an increase of 0.4 per cent from the March quarter.

June quarter chain volume retail sales added 0.4 per cent, slightly below forecasts of 0.5 per cent.

This figure is an important component of gross domestic product - the key measure of the nation's economic growth.

"The weaker-than-expected rise in real retail sales in the second quarter points to a slowdown in consumption growth and adds to the growing evidence that GDP growth weakened significantly," wrote Kate Hickie, assistant economist at Capital Economics, in a note to clients.

"But we don't expect consumption growth to weaken further in the third quarter, in part because consumers should get a boost to their disposable incomes from the RBA's decision to cut interest rates in May and August."

The Reserve Bank of Australia slashed interest rates to a record low of 1.5 per cent on Tuesday, and most economists expect that cut to be the last in the easing cycle.

"The rates cut was a good start, but retailers also need to see our political leaders doing their part to boost confidence and provide certainty," said National Retail Association chief executive Dominique Lamb in a statement.

"It's no coincidence that these numbers have been depressed over several months leading up to the federal election.

"Now that the election is out of the way and Parliament is settled, we need both sides of politics to focus on policies and outcomes that will give consumers greater certainty."

Sales fell in New South Wales, Victoria, the ACT, the Northern Territory and Tasmania, while South Australia remained relatively unchanged.

Source: ABC News

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