Retail spending was weaker than expected in the lead up to Christmas, with sales falling by 0.1% in November, according to new figures.
The Bureau of Statistics report is in stark contrast to analysts’ predictions of a 0.3% increase in retail turnover during the month.
Hardware, furniture and personal accessories experienced the poorest sales. Cosmetics and book retailing fared the best.
Swan seeks budget savings
Treasurer Wayne Swan has reportedly written to Cabinet colleagues to find budget savings in order to fund big reforms such as the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
The Australian Financial Review reports that Swan has stressed the importance of budget cuts, although he didn’t put a figure on the amount that needs to be saved.
“It’s no secret that our budget revenues have already taken a big hit from the impact of continued global instability, commodity price volatility and a high dollar,” a Treasury spokesperson told the AFR.
Pebble watch is set to ship
A much-hyped ‘smartwatch’ that raised an astonishing $15 million through crowdfunding is finally set to hit the market.
The Pebble watch, which is able to display apps and other smartphone features, will begin shipping on January 23, producing 15,000 units a week.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 76.24 points, or 0.57%, at 13,405.0. The Australian dollar was steady at US105.07 cents.