Aldi criticised for “racist” t-shirts; Online sales increase in November; Construction Index steady in December: Midday Roundup

Discount supermarket Aldi is under pressure to pull a range of Australia Day t-shirts, with shoppers taking to social media to tell the supermarket its tops are racist.

One of the t-shirts features the phrase “Australia Est. 1788”, which has particularly enraged consumers.

Twitter users are now asking the supermarket to remove the t-shirts from sale.

Aldi posted a comment on its own Twitter page yesterday apologising to one commenter over the shirts: “@conradhc We apologise for any offense taken in regards to our Australia Day T-shirts. We have passed your feedback on to the team.”

Online sales increase in November

Growth in online sales increased in November, with the latest NAB figures showing Australians spent $14.6 billion online for the year.

The NAB Online Retail Sales Index increased slightly in November to 236 points. Month-on-month growth in sales, seasonally adjusted, also rose to 1.53%.

Online sales now make up 6.4% of total retail spend, excluding cafes, restaurants and takeaway food.

“The improved growth trend for online retail sales reflects almost uniform improvement in conditions at category level. In year-on-year terms, the rate of growth was up to 10.7% – faster than that observed in some recent results,” NAB said in a statement.

Construction Index steady in December

The Australian Industry Group/Housing Industry Association Australian Performance of Construction Index remained in growth in December 2013.

While the sector was down 4.4 points to 50.8 on the index, readings above 50 indicate an expansion in activity.

The December figure follows two months of sustained growth, and was ahead of the 2013 average of 43.9 points.

New home builds recorded the second highest rate of expansion since the survey began in September 2005, rising 1.5 points to 63.5.

New orders at 54.3 points, activity at 50.7 points and deliveries from suppliers at 48.3 points were all lower for the month.

Commercial construction was at 50.8 points and apartments were at 56 points, remaining steady. Engineering dropped into the negative zone at 46.1 points.

Shares slightly lower on open

Aussie shares have remained steady this morning, despite strong performances on overseas markets overnight.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark was down 4.5 points to 5312.5 at 12:08pm AEDT. Overnight the Dow Jones gained 105.84 points, up 0.64% to 16,530.94.

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