Retail sales highest in four months: ABS

SEEK says employers are more likely to bolster salaries for vacant roles than for existing staff. -AAP Image

Retail sales rose 1.3 per cent in July, showing that consumers are still spending despite cost-of-living pressures.

The results were higher than expected, with most analysts anticipating a 0.3 to 0.4 per cent increase in retail sales for the month.

The latest lift in retail turnover follows a slowdown in momentum in the past two months, with retail sales increasing by 0.2 per cent in June and 0.7 per cent in May.

“After slowing growth in recent months, the 1.3 per cent rise in July was the largest since the 1.6 per cent rise in March,” Australian Bureau of Statistics head of retail statistics Ben Dorber said.

Overall retail trade was up 16.5 percent compared to the same time last year.

Turnover lifted in five of the six industries, with department stores reporting the largest rise of 3.8 per cent.

“This shows that, despite cost-of-living pressures, households are continuing to spend,” Mr Dorber said.

Household goods was the only category to record a fall in turnover, down 1.1 per cent for the month.

Spending in this category has fallen three times in four months.

Tasmania was the only state to record a slowdown in retail sales – its first decline all year.

Turnover in the state fell 0.3 per in July.

Retail sales were strongest in Victoria, the Australian Capital Territory and Western Australia.Â

Meanwhile, employers are offering higher pay packets to entice workers into vacant jobs but the boost in advertised wages is still falling short of inflation.

Salaries listed on job ads have risen 4.1 per cent over the year to June, although growth is no longer accelerating.

In July, advertised salaries for new hires grew another 0.4 percent, following a 0.4 percent uptick in June.

While wages are trending upwards amid fierce competition for workers, advertised salary growth was still falling behind the 6.1 per cent annual increase in the consumer price index in the June quarter.

The data, released by job marketplace SEEK, revealed salary growth across the board.

“Unlike previous labor market booms, such as the mining boom, this is not a situation in which some parts of the country pull ahead much more rapidly than the rest,” SEEK economist Matt Cowgill said.

“The labor market has been almost uniformly strong,” Mr Cowgill said.

Advertised salaries picked up across every state and territory, although South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory recorded relatively modest uplifts.

Jobs in design and architecture observed the sharpest uptick in annual salary growth, up 7.3 per cent, followed by ICT jobs, which saw a 6.2 per cent lift.

Advertised salaries have been rising faster than wages as tracked by the wage price index.

This may be because employers are more likely to bolster salaries for vacant roles than adjust salaries for existing staff, SEEK says.

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