Black Friday and iPhone X sales drive 1.2 per cent rise

Black Friday and iPhone X sales drive 1.2 per cent rise”

Retail sales rose 1.2 per cent to $26.4 billion in November, seasonally adjusted, beating the 0.4 per cent rise economists had predicted.

Retail sales were up 1.2 percent m/m in November, building on the 0.5 percent m/m gain for October, and seeing annual growth at 2.9 percent y/y, the best result since July 2017.

Most categories of the retail sector, with the exception of department stores and supermarkets, enjoyed stronger sales, and the spending was evident in every state and territory.

"In seasonally adjusted terms, rises were led by the household goods (4.5 per cent) and other retailing (2.2 per cent) industries", the Director of the Quarterly Economy Wide Surveys, Ben James, said. They were relatively unchanged in New South Wales (0.0 percent), Queensland (0.0 percent), and the Australian Capital Territory (0.0 percent).

Data on Monday showed consumer confidence lifted late in December.

Importantly, measures on current finances improved in both surveys, a promising sign given it has a reasonable relationship to household spending levels.

More news: Nashville Predators sign Yannick Weber to 2-year deal

Still, despite those promising signs, trend retail sales - a measure that strips out volatility in the monthly seasonally adjusted figures - grew by only 0.1% in November, matching the increase reported in October.

The pain for consumers has been visible in falling household savings, which have dropped to their lowest levels in a decade, as consumers try to offset flat income growth.

"Any positive impact on the retail sector from strong employment growth and a buoyant tourism sector looks likely to continue being eclipsed by historically soft wages growth and diffident consumers", he said.

"There are still a lot of risks to consumer spending", Ms Mousina said.

"Arguably, it's more important that the job market has been booming, with employment previous year rising for its longest uninterrupted monthly stretch since the upswing from the last recession in the 1990s".

Consumer spending has been under pressure from record-high household debt and sluggish wage growth, one reason the Reserve Bank of Australia is in no rush to raise interest rates from record lows. The unemployment rate fell to 5.4% now from 5.9% in March.

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