November Retail Sales Beat Forecast

Retailers get a boost from Black Friday sales, as shoppers bring forward Christmas spending

SINGAPORE retailers' performance turned negative in November 2018, despite some uplift from Black Friday shopping, according to figures from the Department of Statistics (SingStat) on Friday.

"The rise of Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Click Frenzy sales have seen households bring forward their Christmas shopping and Boxing Day Sales shopping into November", NAB said in a note on Friday morning.

"More Australians are shopping online, with the ABS estimating that 6.6 per ent of total spending was done on the web in November, up from 5.5 per cent of total spending in November 2017", she said.

"Our combined research with Roy Morgan forecasted a 2.9 percent increase in pre-Christmas sales, as we projected shoppers to spend $51 billion from retail stores across the country from November 9 to December 26, 2018", he said. Takings slid by 22.1 per cent, against a high base from major mobile phone launches in the same period the year prior. Other retailing (-0.1 per cent), and Cafes, restaurant and takeaway services retailing (-0.1 per cent), both had minor falls this month. In November 2017 online retail turnover contributed 5.5 per cent to total retail. This is the highest level recorded in the series and continues a pattern of increasing online contributions to total sales in November.

In seasonally adjusted terms there were spending jumps in New South Wales (0.8 per cent), Queensland (0.4 per cent), Western Australia (0.6 per cent), the Australian Capital Territory (1.6 per cent), and Victoria (0.1 per cent). Sales in South Australia were unchanged from October.

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Australian retail sales topped forecasts in November, recording the largest monthly percentage increase since April previous year.

Despite monthly results beating forecasts, sales growth over the year slumped - dropping from 3.6% in October, to 2.8% in November.

Excluding food sales, turnover increased by 0.6% after seasonal adjustments, the largest increase since August 2018.

The slowdown leaves annual sales growth at its lowest levels since around May 2018. Research from Criteo that was released well before Christmas also suggested that consumers would start making purchase decisions as early as October, ready to process their online transactions during November's online sales events.

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