Retail sales in Australia climbed a seasonally adjusted 0.9 percent on month in March, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Monday - standing at A$21.231 trillion.
That blew away forecasts for an increase of 0.2 percent following the 0.3 percent gain in February and the 0.4 percent increase in January.
By individual category, restaurant sales were up 0.8 percent, followed by food retailing (0.2 percent), other retailing (0.6 percent), clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (0.6 percent) and department stores (0.5 percent). Household goods retailing fell 0.5 percent.
By region, sales in Western Australia were up 0.8 percent, followed by the Australian Capital Territory (0.7 percent), Queensland (0.6 percent), Victoria (0.3 percent), the Northern Territory (0.3 percent) and Tasmania (0.1 percent). South Australia (0.0 percent) was unchanged and New South Wales fell 0.1 percent.
For the first quarter of 2012, retail sales climbed 1.8 percent on quarter to A$61.886 trillion.
That also beat forecasts for a rise of 0.4 percent, which would have been unchanged.
Also on Monday:
• The total number of building approvals in Australia climbed seasonally adjusted 7.4 percent on month in March, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said, standing at 11,501. That follows the downwardly revised 8.8 percent contraction in February - which saw an original reading of a decline of 7.8 percent. On an annual basis, building approvals were down 15.0 percent after shedding 15.2 percent in the previous month.
The seasonally adjusted estimate for private sector houses rose 3.9 percent in March following a fall of 4.0 percent in the previous month. The seasonally adjusted estimate for private sector dwellings excluding houses rose 15.5 percent in March following a fall of 17.3 percent in the previous month.
The seasonally adjusted estimate of the value of total building approved fell 8.9 percent in March and has fallen for 2 months. The value of residential building rose 1.3 percent while the value of non-residential building fell 23.4 percent.
• The total number of job advertisements in Australia was down a seasonally adjusted 3.0 percent on month in April, ANZ Bank said, coming in at 193,576. That follows the 1.0 percent monthly increase in March. Newspaper ads were up 0.1 percent on month but plunged 18.0 percent on year in April. Job ads on the Internet declined 3.2 percent on month. On an annual basis, the total number of job ads fell 1.7 percent.
• The NAB business confidence survey came in with a score of 4 in April, up from 3 in March. The index for business conditions saw a score of 0, down from the revised reading of 3 in the previous month.
• The AiG Performance of Construction Index had a reading of 34.9 in April, down from 36.2 in March.
by RTT Staff Writer
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