Retail sales fall

Australian retail sales were down by a seasonally adjusted 0.2% in April from the previous month, according to the data released by Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Retail sales turnover, on a seasonally adjusted basis, totalled A$21.21bn ($20.7bn) month-on-month in April 2012.

The decrease in April retail sales, following an increase of 1.1% in March and a rise of 0.2% in February, was due to less spending by consumers at department stores and on household goods.

Household goods retailing, which includes furniture, hardware, building & garden supplies, electrical and electronics, declined 0.8% month-on-month in April.

There was a 0.7% decrease in other retailing, which includes stationery goods, antique and used goods, flower, non-store, and other-store based retailing.

Sales at department stores edged down 1% in April from March, while clothing and footwear and personal accessory retailing registered a 0.1% decline.

Consumer spending at food retailing, which includes supermarket, grocery, convenience, and liquor retailing, increased 1% in April from the previous month.

Sales at cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services sales advanced 0.4% month-on-month in April.

By region, seasonally adjusted sales in Victoria slipped 1.5%, followed by Western Australia and Tasmania, where sales dropped 0.2% and 0.6%, respectively.

Sales in the Australian Capital Territory decreased 0.6% in April, while in the Northern Territory sales edged down 0.9%.

Meanwhile, New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland recorded sales increase of 0.7%, 0.5% and 0.1%, respectively.

The statistics agency said retail sales were up 0.3% in April, in terms of trends, following an increase of 0.3% in both March and February 2012.

Image: Retail sales down in April, as consumers spent less at department stores and on household goods. Photo: