Retail resurgence: Spending up for third straight month in winter windfall

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RETAIL sales have risen for a third straight month, with Aussies spending big on household goods, eating out and clothing in a brisk $76 billion boost into winter.

Spending rose 0.3 per cent during June to $26.2 billion in seasonally adjusted terms, according to the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The result surprised economists, who were predicting a 0.2 per cent increase in retail turnover during the month.

media_cameraPedestrians walk past a RipCurl outlet, known for its summer lines but also a stockist of winter clothing. Spending on clothing, footwear and personal accessories increased by 0.8 per cent in June.

June’s 0.3 per cent month-on-month gain followed a 0.6 per cent increase in May and a 1.0 per cent rise in April.

Collectively over the three months, Aussies spent a whopping $76.2 billion at retail outlets, an increase of 1.5 per cent in seasonally adjusted terms from the March quarter.

“Not only did retail sales lift in June but activity lifted soundly over the June quarter,” CommSec economist Savanth Sebastian said.

“In fact retail trade rose by 1.5 per cent in the June quarter and, for the record, there has not been a stronger quarterly result in the past eight years.”

media_cameraA 0.5 per cent growth in spending at cafes and restaurants brought the June total for that category to $3.5 billion. Picture: Mike Dugdale

During the cold month of June spending on household goods rose 0.9 per cent to $4.7 billion, led by stronger spending on hardware, building supplies, gardening equipment, furniture, floor coverings and housewares.

“We usually see homeowners increase their spending on household goods when housing values rise, and this month’s retail trade figures reflect the high consumer confidence homeowners felt in June,” Australian Retailers Association executive director Russell Zimmerman said.

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“Hardware figures also proved positive, with a 3.73 per cent year-on-year increase, their strongest retail trade figures since December.”

Spending on clothing, footwear and personal accessories increased by 0.8 per cent in June to $1.9 billion in seasonally adjusted terms.

“There is no doubt that clothing retailers have been key beneficiaries of the colder weather, with a very strong lift over the quarter,” Mr Sebastian said.

There was also 0.5 per cent growth in spending at cafes and restaurants, bringing the June total for that category to $3.5 billion.

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