Retail sales disappoint again, staying flat in September

Australian retail sales were flat in September from a month earlier, disappointing economists who had expected a 0.4% rise.

"I think it's a sign that households are struggling under the weight of low wage growth, rising utility bills, high household debt and now a stagnating housing market", Capital Economics' chief Australia & New Zealand economist Paul Dales said.

Sales for August were revised up slightly to a fall of 0.5% from a 0.6% decline when the figures were first released.

Upon the news of the lackluster data, the Aussie dollar sank from 77.14 US cents immediately before the read at 11:30 (AEDT), to 76.85 USA cents at 11:35 (AEDT).

In volume terms, the seasonally adjusted estimate for the September quarter edged up 0.1 percent, following a rise of 1.5 percent in the June quarter.

Retails sales rose by 0.1% in the third quarter from the second quarter, the ABS added.

"These sectors have been experiencing strong competition, especially from overseas players and online stores for a while now".

The retail data is in line with third quarter Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Producer Price Index (PPI) numbers published last week, which all indicate that inflationary pressures remain muted across most parts of the economy, CBA senior economist Gareth Aird said.

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