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Winter is coming! Retail trade, February 2023 data

Chief Economist

February Retail Trade data indicates that Australian consumers are continuing to reduce their spending on discretionary goods. Spending on household goods was flat over February, while spending on ‘other retail’ declined by 0.4%.

However, spending in department stores rose by 1% over the month, and clothing, footwear & personal accessories by 0.6%. Spending on food and at cafes, restaurants and takeaway outlets also rose marginally at 0.2% and 0.5% respectively.

Overall, the 0.2% increase in spending over the month was very subdued and will give the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) board, at the very least, a discussion point in support of a pause to monetary policy tightening in April.

The data reflects CreditorWatch’s risk metrics, which continue to place those industries that rely on discretionary spending at the top of the table in terms of probability of default. While we are yet to see a marked downturn in spending at cafes and restaurants, the upcoming winter could tell a different story as more Australian borrowers come off fixed rate loans and many household budgets will see a dramatic fall in excess money available for eating out.

Data Source: CreditorWatch RiskScore Credit Rating average Probability of Default by Industry

Chief Economist economy news NewsHub retail retail trade growth
Anneke Thompson
Anneke Thompson
Chief Economist, CreditorWatch
Anneke joined CreditorWatch as Chief Economist in April 2022. She is a specialist researcher and commentator on issues impacting the credit industry, SMEs and the broader economy, conducting regular presentations to corporate groups. She is also a media spokesperson for CreditorWatch, regularly appearing on national television and in syndicated media. Anneke is also the Managing Director of Clio Research and formerly the National Director and National Head of Research at Colliers International Australia. She has also worked at NAB and Jones Lang LaSalle.
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