Retail turnover rises just 0.2% in June.

  • By Zilla Efrat

Australian retail turnover reached another record after rising 0.2 per cent in June, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The rise was below JP Morgan and consensus forecasts of a 0.5 per cent rise.

The June result followed a revised 0.7 per cent rise in May, a 0.9 per cent lift in April and an increase of 1.6 per cent in March.

 “While the 0.2 per cent rise in June was the sixth-straight rise in retail turnover, it was also the smallest so far this year,” Ben Dorber, head of retail statistics at the ABS.

Ryan Felsman, senior economist at CommSec says sales jumped by 12 per cent over the past year reaching a fresh annual high of $34.2 billion.

Spending is up 23.2 per cent since February 2020, before COVID-19 started to bite, he says.

JP Morgan economist Tom Kennedy says the pace of retail sales has been robust through 2022, due to the combination of a falling and still-elevated saving rate, low unemployment and surging inflation.

“While these three factors remain in play, sales growth in the past six months has been unsustainable so a degree of moderation was expected, though it appears Reserve Bank rate hikes/hawkish communication also had an influence on spending behaviour in June.”

Dorber says results were mixed across the six industries, with turnover rising in three of them and falling in the others, as cost-of-living pressures appear to be slowing the growth in spending.”

Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services had the largest rise, up 2.7 per cent, followed by clothing, footwear, and personal accessory retailing (up 1.3 per cent) and other retailing (0.5 per cent higher).

Department stores saw the largest fall, down 3.7 per cent, followed by food retailing (-0.3 per cent) and household goods retailing (-0.3 per cent).

Turnover rose in the Northern Territory (1.8 per cent), Queensland (0.7 per cent), the Australian Capital Territory (0.6 per cent), Western Australia (0.5 per cent) and Tasmania (0.5 per cent).

New South Wales was the only state or territory where turnover fell, dropping by 0.2 per cent.

Retail turnover was relatively unchanged in South Australia and Victoria.

CBA economists expect retail spending to ease in the second half of 2022.

They say real household incomes are being squeezed by the rampant cost of living pressures, fanned by higher raw material costs, due to strong consumer demand, supply chain disruptions and soaring commodity prices.