Australian retail sales slump due to uncertainty

19:16, August 03, 2010      

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Australian National Retail Association chief executive Margy Osmond said on Tuesday spending figures for June were "extremely disappointing" because shoppers still felt uncertain.

"What we're seeing is while people feel confident about having a job, that's not translating into spending on discretionary items or big household items," she told reporters.

A federal election campaign also causes uncertainty, she noted.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has reported a weaker than expected 0.2 percent rise in retail sales in June.

June is traditionally the big sales months of the year but Osmond said it had been diluted after six or eight months of aggressive discounting by the sector.

Osmond said there would not be a stop to discounting any time soon, with robust sales not expected to be seen until 2011.

"A very good reason for those interest rates to stay where they are," she said.

The Reserve Bank left the cash rate unchanged at 4.5 percent following its monthly board meeting on Tuesday.

The move was welcomed by the Australian Retailers Association, which said retailers were desperate for relief from rate increases.

Source: Xinhua


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