Warm weather hammers clothing stores

shopping3The Commonwealth Bank’s monthly sales indicator has tracked growth for the retail sector but there’s more bad news for clothing stores.

CBA’s Business Sales Indicator (BSI) for April recorded a 0.7 per cent month-on-month (m/m) increase in retail store spending, but a 0.2 per cent decrease in clothing store sales – the sixth consecutive month of decline.

Commsec chief economist Craig James said warmer weather was likely delaying demand for winter apparel, impacting sales.

Several large retailers, including Myer and Big W, have blamed an unseasonably warm start to the cold season for slow apparel trade.

Myer executive chairman Garry Hounsell said on Wednesday that the weather could have an impact on Myer’s fourth quarter profits as retailer’s discount to clear slow-moving stock.

Overall though Friday’s CBA data is an encouraging sign for official ABS retail spending figures after NAB forecast a 0.2 per cent decline earlier this week.

Year-on-year (y/y) things were even more positive, with retail stores up 15.3 per cent in April, the strongest annual growth of all 19 industry sectors tracked by the BSI.

The BSI tracks the value of credit and debit card transactions processed through CBA merchant facilities.

Economy-wide spending increased for the 15th consecutive month in April, up 0.8 per cent (seasonally adjusted). The BSI has now risen 0.9 – one per cent a month for the last five months.

In annual terms trend growth in sales increased from 7.7 per cent to 8.4 per cent in April – the fastest growth in three-and-a-half years and above the decade-average of 3.3 per cent.

ABS turnover figures for April are slated to be released on 4 June.

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