Economy

Retail sales bounce back: Economy roundup

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Retail sales have staged a limited comeback after recent falls to record a 0.7% seasonally adjusted rise in May, exceeding market expectations of a 0.1% increase.

Retail sales have staged a limited comeback after recent falls to record a 0.7% seasonally adjusted rise in May, exceeding market expectations of a 0.1% increase.

The results represent a reversal on recent trends, with previous strong performing sectors department stores, and clothing and soft goods losing ground by 0.8% and 0.3% respectively.

On the positive side of the ledger, food retailing picked up by 1% in May after weak results in previous months. Recreational goods business also did well, up 2.2%, while hospitality and services lifted 0.8%.

Across the states, retailers in Queensland and Tasmania experienced the best results, with sales up 1.2% and 1.3% respectively, while Western Australia trailed the pack with just 0.4% growth.

But if retail sales are on the upside, new building approval data released today confirmed the deep gloom shrouding the Australian housing industry at the moment.

The number of new homes or apartments approved for construction fell 6.5% seasonally adjusted in May, with approvals for apartments tumbling a big 18.2%.

On the markets today, this morning the S&P/ASX200 as fallen 0.5% on yesterday’s close to 5114, with resources stocks leading the falls.

And today’s improved retail sales results appear to have done little for retail chain Just Group. Weak consumer demand and doubts about its rejection of a takeover bid by the Solomon Lew-backed Premier Investments has seen Just Group’s shares fall 11.3% to $2.82 by 11.45am today.

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