Australian retail sales climbed at the fastest pace in eight months in September 2023, according to data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on October 30, 2023.
Retail sales rose 0.9% in September, following a revised increase of 0.3% in August. This was the strongest monthly gain since January 2023.
The ABS said that the September increase was broad-based, with all major retail categories recording growth. Food retailing rose 1.0% in September, followed by department stores (0.9%), household goods retailing (0.8%), and clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (0.7%).
The strong September retail sales data is a positive sign for the Australian economy. It suggests that consumers are still spending, even as interest rates rise and the cost of living increases.
The ABS said that the warmer-than-usual start to spring lifted turnover at department stores, household goods and clothing retailers, with more spending on hardware, gardening, and clothing items.
The September retail sales data also suggests that the Australian economy is more resilient than some economists had feared. The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has been raising interest rates in an effort to cool the economy and bring inflation under control. However, the strong September retail sales data suggests that consumers are still able to spend, even as interest rates rise.
The RBA is expected to continue raising interest rates in the coming months. However, the strong September retail sales data suggests that the economy is likely to remain resilient in the face of higher interest rates.