Australian retail sales grew by 0.175% in December, below expectations for an increase of 0.4%, with the annual rate of growth slowing to 4.12%, the lowest level seen since October 2013.
Despite the monthly miss, with the increase, total sales rose to $23.806b, the highest level on record.
Queensland recorded the largest increase in sales for the month, +0.6%, with Tasmania recording the largest decline at 1.3%.
Reflecting strong gains in capital city house prices sales continue to be led by NSW and Victoria.
Combined sales in NSW, Victoria and Queensland made up over 77% of national sales.
Clothing, footwear and personal accessory sales were the stand out performer for the month, up 2.7%, while department store and household goods logged declines of 0.9% and 0.4% respectively. The decline in the latter comes as no surprise given it’s out performance in the quarter thanks to the release of the iPhone 6.
Assisted by that product, along with the boom in east coast property prices, household goods retailing is up nearly 10% on levels of a year ago. Department store sales were the only category to fall on year.
For the quarter retail volumes were strongest in the ACT, SA and NSW. Tasmania was the only State to register a fall.
By category, yet again assisted by the iPhone 6 launch, household goods retailing recorded the strongest volumes growth for the quarter.