Retail Turnover Remains Sluggish In September

More evidence that many households are under financial pressure.

Australian retail turnover was relatively unchanged (0.0 per cent) in September 2017, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Retail Trade figures.

The trend estimate for Australian retail turnover was relatively unchanged (0.0 per cent) in September 2017 and relatively unchanged (0.0 per cent) in August 2017. Compared to September 2016 the trend estimate rose 2.0 per cent.

In seasonally adjusted terms, there were rises in food retailing (0.6 per cent), department stores (2.1 per cent), and cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (0.3 per cent). There were falls in other retailing (-1.7 per cent), household goods retailing (-0.4 per cent), and clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (-0.7 per cent) in September 2017. This follows a seasonally adjusted fall of -0.5 per cent in August 2017.

In trend terms, there were falls in WA, NT and ACT. NSW had a 0.1% rise compared to last month.

In seasonally adjusted terms, there were rises in New South Wales (0.2 per cent), Queensland (0.3 per cent), South Australia (0.7 per cent), Tasmania (0.6 per cent), and the Australian Capital Territory (0.1 per cent). There were falls in Western Australia (-1.3 per cent), and the Northern Territory (1.7 per cent). Victoria was relatively unchanged (0.0 per cent).

Online retail turnover contributed 4.4 per cent to total retail turnover in original terms.

In seasonally adjusted volume terms, turnover rose 0.1 per cent in the September quarter 2017, following a rise of 1.5 per cent in the June quarter 2017. “The main contributor to the quarterly volume rise was food retailing (0.9 per cent) but there was also rises in clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (0.7 per cent) and other retailing (0.4 per cent),” said Ben James, the Director of Quarterly Economy Wide Surveys. “A fall in Household goods retailing (-1.6 per cent) offset these rises.”

Even the PM is warning of low wage growth

From The New Daily.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has blamed low wage growth for the worst monthly drop in consumer spending since 2010.

Retail turnover in August declined for a second month in a row, according to official data released on Thursday, with the -0.6 per cent drop in trade the worst monthly performance in more than four years – putting economic growth at risk.

“While we’re seeing strong growth in employment, we’re yet to see stronger growth in wages so people feel as though they’re not getting ahead,” Mr Turnbull told Neil Mitchell on 3AW radio on Friday.

“That’s why economic growth is so important.”

The Prime Minister said wages would naturally rise as unemployment falls. “It’s supply and demand. Phil Lowe, the Governor of the Reserve Bank, was making this point just the other day,” he said.

Mr Turnbull also blamed higher energy bills, while some economists pointed the finger of blame at rising household debt and cooling house prices.

August retail trade slumped the most at ‘Newspaper and book retailing’, down -2.3 per cent; ‘Cafes, restaurants and catering services’, down -1.8 per cent; and at ‘Electrical and electronic goods retailing’, down -1.6 per cent.

Nowhere in Australia escaped, with retail sales falling in every state and territory, with New South Wales, Victoria and the ACT tied for worst performance at -0.8 per cent.

retail turnover
It was the worst month-on-month result, in seasonally adjusted terms, in four years. Source: ABS

The link between low wage growth, low spending and low economic growth has been a growing area of concern in recent months.

Commonwealth Bank CEO Ian Narev said in a speech on Friday that wage growth was the “No.1 metric” that policymakers should be concerned about.

The reason experts are so concerned is that any drop in consumer spending from cash-poor workers could have big consequences for economic growth, as household consumption currently accounts for roughly 57 per cent of Australia’s economic growth.

The full impact of the August slump will be seen when the September quarter GDP figures are released. In the GDP figures for the June quarter, the share of economic growth flowing to wage earners fell to 51.3 per cent in trend terms, the lowest since 1964, while the profit share soared to 27.3 per cent, the highest since 2012.

Dr Richard Holden, an economist at the University of New South Wales, has previously warned The New Daily that a drop in consumer spending “goes round in a vicious cycle”.

“If you have more of a drop on consumer spending, you’re going to see a contraction on the business side. It flows straight into business investment and business expansion, and that has a multiplier effect,” Dr Holden said at the time.

Commonwealth Bank economist Gareth Aird has described the August retail report as a “shocker”.

“It’s not surprising to see such weak retail trade outcomes given household income growth is so soft. But two consecutive monthly falls look at odds with the recent strength in the labour market.”

Mr Aird also said mortgage interest payments are taking up a larger proportion of household income, acting as “a handbrake on consumer spending and the retail sector in general”.

The expected arrival of online giant Amazon, and the growth of online retail in general, is also putting pressure on retailers, he said.

Australian Retailers Association executive director Russell Zimmerman blamed increased energy costs, higher tax burdens and an inflexible wage system for the concerning result and called for government action to lift confidence.

JP Morgan economist Ben Jarman said further weakness in household consumption would put at risk the Reserve Bank’s forecasts for a return to economic growth of 3 per cent, from the current annual rate of 1.8 per cent.

“The consumption data challenge the RBA’s assertion that growth will move back above potential,” he said.

Labor leader Bill Shorten told a media conference on Friday that the misuse of labour hire contracts were a major contributing factor to Australia’s low wage growth.

Retail Turnover On The Slide

More evidence of strained household budgets with the release today of the August 2017 ABS data on Retail Turnover.

Australian retail turnover fell 0.6 per cent in August 2017, seasonally adjusted, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Retail Trade figures. This follows a fall of 0.2 per cent in July 2017.

In seasonally adjusted terms, there were falls in food retailing (-0.6 per cent), cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (-1.3 per cent), household goods retailing (-1.0 per cent) and clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (-0.2 per cent). There were rises in department stores (0.7 per cent) and other retailing (0.1 per cent) in August 2017.

In seasonally adjusted terms, there were falls in all states and territories. “Victoria (-0.8 per cent) and Queensland (-0.8 per cent) led the falls,” said Ben James, Director of Quarterly Economy Wide surveys.

“There were also falls in New South Wales (-0.2 per cent), Western Australia (-0.6 per cent), South Australia (-0.6 per cent), the Australian Capital Territory (-0.8 per cent), Tasmania (-0.7 per cent) and the Northern Territory (-0.7 per cent).”

The trend estimate which irons out the bumps was a little more sanguine, with retail turnover rising 0.1 per cent in August 2017 following a 0.1 per cent rise in July 2017. Compared to August 2016, the trend estimate rose 2.8 per cent.

Some significant state variations, but overall direction is clearly down.

Online retail turnover contributed 4.6 per cent to total retail turnover in original terms.

More evidence of stressed household budgets, which is no surprise given the current economic settings.

Retail turnover relatively unchanged in July

Further evidence of household financial pressure.

Australian retail turnover was a relatively unchanged 0.0 per cent in July 2017, seasonally adjusted, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Retail Trade figures.

This follows a rise of 0.2 per cent in June 2017.

In seasonally adjusted terms, there were falls in household goods retailing (-1.7 per cent), department stores (-2.8 per cent) and clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (-0.2 per cent). There were rises in food retailing (0.7 per cent), other retailing (1.3 per cent), and cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (0.2 per cent) in July 2017.

“The falls in household goods retailing and department stores come after strong rises during the June quarter,” said Ben James, Director of Quarterly Economy Wide surveys for the ABS.

In seasonally adjusted terms, there were falls in New South Wales (-0.4 per cent), South Australia (-0.8 per cent), Tasmania (-0.9 per cent) and the Northern Territory (-0.1 per cent). There were rises in Victoria (0.4 per cent), Western Australia (0.6 per cent), Queensland (0.2 per cent) and the Australian Capital Territory (0.1 per cent).

The trend estimate for Australian retail turnover rose 0.3 per cent in July 2017 following a 0.4 per cent rise in June 2017. Compared to July 2016, the trend estimate rose 3.5 per cent.

Online retail turnover contributed 4.3 per cent to total retail turnover in original terms.

Retail Turnover Remains Pretty Flat

The trend estimate for Australian retail turnover rose 0.4 per cent in June 2017 following a 0.4 per cent rise in May 2017. Compared to June 2016, the trend estimate rose 3.6 per cent, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Retail Trade figures.

In seasonally adjusted terms, Australian retail turnover rose 0.3 per cent in June 2017 , following a rise of 0.6 per cent in May 2017.

“In seasonally adjusted terms in June 2017, we saw rises in Household goods retailing (0.9 per cent), Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (0.5 per cent), Clothing footwear and personal accessory retailing (0.8 per cent) and Other retailing (0.2 per cent),” said Ben James, Director of Quarterly Economy Wide Surveys. “There was a fall in Department stores (-0.3 per cent), while Food retailing (0.0 per cent) was relatively unchanged.”

The trend by state shows Tasmania and ACT ahead of the average, with Western Australian and NT, continuing to trail.

In seasonally adjusted terms there were rises in New South Wales (0.5 per cent), Queensland (0.7 per cent), South Australia (0.3 per cent), Tasmania (0.6 per cent), the Northern Territory (1.2 per cent) and Western Australia (0.1 per cent). There were falls in Victoria (-0.3 per cent) and the Australian Capital Territory (-0.1 per cent).

Online retail turnover contributed 4.1 per cent to total retail turnover in original terms.

In seasonally adjusted volume terms, turnover rose 1.5 per cent in the June quarter 2017, following a rise of 0.2 per cent in the March quarter 2017. The largest contributor to the rise was Household goods retailing, which rose 2.5 per cent in seasonally adjusted volume terms in the June quarter 2017.

Anemic Retail Sales Continues

The trend estimate for Australian retail turnover rose 0.1 per cent in April 2017 following a 0.1 per cent rise in March 2017. Compared to April 2016 the trend estimate rose 2.7 per cent according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Retail Trade figures.

There were rises in food retailing (0.2 per cent), cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (0.2 per cent), department stores (0.4 per cent), and other retailing (0.4 per cent); whilst household goods retailing fell  (0.1 per cent) and clothing footwear and personal accessory retailing fell (0.4 per cent).

In April 2017, South Australia led the rise  (0.4 per cent), with rises also in Australian Capital Territory (0.3 per cent), Victoria (0.3 per cent), Tasmania (0.1 per cent), and New South Wales. Queensland and Western Australia did not change, the Northern Territory fell slightly. (0.1 per cent).

The more reported, but less reliable seasonally adjusted retail turnover rose 1.0 per cent in April 2017, following a fall of 0.2 per cent in March 2017, so look out for the “better than expected” commentary. We do not believe it.

Anyhow, for the records, in seasonally adjusted terms, there were rises in food retailing (1.2 per cent), cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (1.1 per cent), department stores (2.5 per cent), other retailing (0.6 per cent), household goods retailing (0.4 per cent) and clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (0.3 per cent).

In seasonally adjusted terms there were rises in all states and territories. Queensland (2.4 per cent) led the rise, and there were also rises in Victoria (1.0 per cent), South Australia (1.1 per cent), Western Australia (0.4 per cent), New South Wales (0.1 per cent), Tasmania (1.2 per cent), the Northern Territory (1.8 per cent) and the Australian Capital Territory (0.9 per cent) in April 2017.

Online retail turnover contributed 3.4 per cent to total retail turnover in original terms.

Retail Turnover Down Again In March

Australian retail turnover fell 0.1 per cent in March 2017, seasonally adjusted, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Retail Trade figures. This follows a fall of 0.2 per cent in February 2017. This continues the weakness which is related to big debt and flat incomes. QLD looks a particular concern.

In seasonally adjusted terms, there were falls in food retailing (-0.5 per cent), cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (-0.5 per cent), department stores (-0.6 per cent) and household goods retailing (-0.1 per cent). These falls were offset by rises in other retailing (1.1 per cent) and clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (0.4 per cent).

In seasonally adjusted terms, there were falls in Queensland (-1.3 per cent), the Northern Territory (-1.8 per cent), South Australia (-0.1 per cent) and Tasmania (-0.2 per cent). There were rises in Victoria (0.4 per cent), New South Wales (0.1 per cent), the Australian Capital Territory (0.3 per cent) and Western Australia (0.1 per cent).

The trend estimate for Australian retail turnover was relatively unchanged (0.0 per cent) in March 2017 following a 0.1 per cent rise in February 2017. Compared to March 2016, the trend estimate rose 2.5 per cent.

Online retail turnover contributed 3.7 per cent to total retail turnover in original terms.

In seasonally adjusted volume terms, turnover rose 0.1 per cent in the March quarter 2017, following a rise of 0.7 per cent in the December quarter 2016. The main contributors to this rise were food retailing (0.6 per cent), household goods retailing (0.4 per cent) and other retailing (0.4 per cent).

Retail Turnover Fell In February

Australian retail turnover fell 0.1 per cent in February 2017, seasonally adjusted, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Retail Trade figures.

This follows a rise of 0.4 per cent in January 2017.

The trend estimate for Australian retail turnover rose 0.1 per cent in February 2017 following a 0.2 per cent rise in January 2017. Compared to February 2016, the trend estimate rose 2.9 per cent.

In seasonally adjusted terms, there were falls in clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (-2.5 per cent) and household goods retailing (-0.4 per cent). These falls were offset by rises in food retailing (0.3 per cent) and department stores (0.8 per cent). Other retailing, and cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services were relatively unchanged (0.0 per cent).

The fall in clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing was across both industry subgroups. Clothing retailing fell 2.9 per cent and footwear and other personal accessory retailing fell 1.9 per cent, in seasonally adjusted terms.

In seasonally adjusted terms, there were falls in Western Australia (-0.7 per cent), Victoria (-0.3 per cent), Queensland (-0.2 per cent), Tasmania (-0.5 per cent), and the Australian Capital Territory (-0.5 per cent). There were rises in New South Wales (0.4 per cent), the Northern Territory (0.4 per cent), and South Australia (0.1 per cent).

Online retail turnover contributed 3.6 per cent to total retail turnover in original terms.

Retail Turnover Rises In January

Australian retail turnover rose 0.2 per cent in January 2017, in trend terms, following a 0.3 per cent rise in December 2016. Compared to January 2016, the trend estimate rose 3.2 per cent according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Retail Trade figures.  Victoria showed the strongest growth. We think the lift was thanks to bargains available in the January sales.

Clothing, footwear and personal accessories rose the most in trend terms.

But in seasonally adjusted terms, there were rises in household goods retailing (1.4 per cent), cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (1.1 per cent), food retailing (0.2 per cent), and other retailing (0.1 per cent).

These rises were offset by falls in clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (-0.4 per cent) and department stores (-0.5 per cent). This follows a fall of 0.1 per cent in December 2016.

The main contribution to the rise in household goods retailing was the Electrical and electronic goods industry subgroup, which rose 2.4 per cent in January in seasonally adjusted terms.

In seasonally adjusted terms, there were rises in Victoria (1.1 per cent), New South Wales (0.2 per cent), South Australia (0.6 per cent), Western Australia (0.3 per cent), the Australian Capital Territory (1.2 per cent) and Tasmania (0.4 per cent). There was a fall in the Northern Territory (-0.8 per cent). Queensland was relatively unchanged (0.0%).

Online retail turnover contributed 3.6 per cent to total retail turnover in original terms.

Trend Retail Turnover Up Just A Bit In December

Australian retail turnover rose 0.3 per cent in December 2016 following a 0.3 per cent rise in November 2016. Compared to December 2015, the trend estimate rose 3.2 per cent, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Retail Trade figures.  We would have expected a higher number, given the Christmas rush, but perhaps households waited until the January sales.

 

In Seasonal adjusted terms, turnover fell 0.1 per cent in December 2016, seasonally adjusted, this follows a rise of 0.1 per cent in November 2016.

In seasonally adjusted terms, there were falls in household goods retailing (-2.3 per cent), and other retailing (-0.2 per cent). These falls were offset by rises in food retailing (0.5 per cent), clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (1.4 per cent), cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (0.2 per cent), and department stores (0.3 per cent).

The fall in household goods retailing is the result of a fall in the Hardware, building and garden supplies retailing industry subgroup, which fell 6.6 per cent in December after rises in each of the previous four months.

In seasonally adjusted terms, there were falls in Victoria (-0.4 per cent), New South Wales (-0.3 per cent), and the Australian Capital Territory (-0.7 per cent). There were rises in South Australia (1.2 per cent), Western Australia (0.6 per cent), the Northern Territory (1.1 per cent) and Tasmania (0.5 per cent). Queensland was relatively unchanged (0.0 per cent).

Online retail turnover contributed 3.8 per cent to total retail turnover in original terms.

In seasonally adjusted volume terms, turnover rose 0.9 per cent in the December quarter 2016, following a relatively unchanged result (0.0 per cent) in the September quarter 2016. The main contributors to this rise were household goods retailing (2.5 per cent), clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (1.5 per cent) and food retailing (0.3 per cent).