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Matthew Hassan, analyst at Westpac, notes that the Australia’s retail sales rose by 0.1% in January, a disappointing result compared to consensus expectations of a 0.3% gain.

Key Quotes

“Retail was coming off a 0.4% fall in the final month of 2018, so the muted January rise speaks to continued weakness carrying into early 2019.”

“Annual sales growth has slowed to 2.7%yr with the trend pace over the last six months closer to 2%yr.”

“Overall the slight gain in January retail sales indicates that the soft spending conditions over the second half of 2018 have extended into 2019. While sales may not be contracting in nominal terms they are likely to be down in volume terms once price changes are excluded.”