Australian March Retail Sales

  • due at 0130GMT
  • expected +0.3%
  • prior -0.1%

Goldman Sachs on what to expect:

  • Nominal retail sales disappointed in February, falling by -0.1% m/m, well short of the +0.3% m/m gain expected by Bloomberg consensus
  • As a result, annual growth slowed to +2.7% y/y, its slowest pace since July 2013
  • Sales were weaker still on an ex-food basis (-0.4%mom, +2.0%yoy), with weakness concentrated in the clothing sector (-2.5%mom) and major states outside of NSW
  • In the context of an improvement in the overall growth outlook and labour market over the past few months, the weakness in February nominal sales was disappointing
  • Notwithstanding this, we remain cautiously positive on the outlook for broader consumer spending over the course of the year, given the lagged positive impact from the higher terms of trade, stronger leading indicators on employment and wages, and likely better fiscal news flow around May's Commonwealth Budget
  • Looking to the March update, we expect nominal sales to rebound modestly by +0.3% m/m
  • Compositionally, we note that the unusually wet weather in Qld/NSW may have weighed on department stores and hardware sales over the month, while competition among supermarkets continues to exert pressure on food prices overall


Note, in today's release we also get the q/q retail sales excluding inflation (Q1)

  • expected +0.5%
  • prior +0.9%

Goldman Sachs on this:

  • For the March quarter as a whole, we expect sales volumes to expand moderately by +0.5% q/q
  • Expect retail prices to remain subdued (+0.0% q/q), as a result of ongoing competition