NAB index shows online sales up; Services sector expands in February: Midday Roundup

Online retail sales are up $1.9 billion in the past 12 months, despite growth slowing to just 1.3% in January.

The latest NAB Online Retail Sales Index reveals Australians have spent $14.9 billion online in the year to January 2014.

Strong year-on-year growth was witness in the groceries and liquor category, where spend was up 27%, while more money was also spent on electronic games and toys and media online, up 22% and 18% respectively.

NAB retail sector head Tiernan White said in a statement that despite a slowdown in online sales growth, it still outpaces traditional retail.

“We are seeing our domestic retailers increasingly developing a quality online presence alongside their traditional bricks and mortar offering.”

“The department and variety stores category recorded the highest share of total online expenditure in the year to January at 34%, followed by homewares and appliances with 17% share of spend and groceries and liquor with 15% share of spend.”

Services sector expands in February

The services sector has expanded in February, with a solid improvement in sales and employment.

The latest Australian Industry Group Performance of Services Index shows the sector lifted by 5.8 points to 55.2 points on the index last month, with readings above 50 indicating expansion.

Ai group chief executive Innes Willox says the sector clawed its way back to growth in the second half of 2013.

“There are further encouraging signs of a long-awaited lift in services industries with the rise in employment pointing to higher levels of business confidence, with new orders continuing to grow in February and with the retail sector on the brink of expansion,” he says. 

“We are still somewhat short of a full recovery with expansion confined to a couple of sectors and with businesses in other sectors reporting ongoing weakness.”

Shares up on open

Aussie shares have opened higher this morning, following a bumper day on Wall Street yesterday.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark was up 32 points to 5432.2 at 12:10pm AEDT. Overnight the Dow Jones closed 227.85 points higher, up 1.41% to 16,395.88.

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