Retail sales in Australia added a seasonally adjusted 0.5 percent on month in May, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Wednesday, standing at A$21.307 billion.
That beat forecasts for an increase of 0.2 percent following the upwardly revised 0.1 percent gain in April - which was initially called lower by 0.2 percent.
Sales were up 0.9 percent in March.
By individual category, restaurant sales were up 1.0 percent, followed by food retailing and other retailing (both up 0.4 percent), and clothing and department store sales (both up 0.3 percent). Sales of household goods declined 0.1 percent.
By region, sales were up 0.7 percent in Western Australia, followed by Queensland (0.6 percent), the Australian Capital Territory (0.5 percent), New South Wales (0.5 percent), the Northern Territory (0.4 percent), South Australia (0.2 percent) and Victoria (0.1 percent).
Sales were down 0.2 percent in Tasmania.
On an annual basis, retail sales climbed 3.3 percent after adding 3.1 percent in the previous month.
Also on Wednesday, an index measuring the service sector in Australia came in with a score of 48.8 in June, the Australian Industry Group said on Wednesday.
That was sharply higher than the May reading of 43.5, AiG said, although it remained below the boom-or-bust level of 50 that separates expansion from contraction.
Among the individual sub-categories, recreation, health, community service and transportation all saw expansion, while retail trade, wholesale trade and accommodations saw contraction.
Upon the release of the data, the Australian dollar spiked higher against other major currencies, trading near 1.0322 against the U.S. dollar, 1.2210 against the euro, 1.0450 against the Canadian dollar and 82.20 against the yen.
by RTT Staff Writer
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