By James Glynn
SYDNEY–Australian retail sales volumes rose 1.4% in the second quarter to reach a new record, defying surging inflation and rising interest rates, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday.
The rise in sales volumes was the third consecutive quarterly increase in the total volume of retail trade, following rises of 1.0% in the first quarter, and 7.7% in the fourth quarter of 2021.
“Sales volumes continued to rise into the second quarter, despite the largest rises in retail prices since the introduction of a goods and services tax in 2000,” said Ben Dorber, head of retail statistics at the ABS.
Inflation in Australia rose by an annual pace of 6.1% in the second quarter, with the Reserve Bank of Australia expecting a peak of close to 8.0% in the second half of this year.
Official interest rates have been raised by 175 basis points since May, the fastest pace of policy tightening since the mid-1990s. Further increases are expected through the second half of this year.
Much of the growth in sales volumes in the second quarter came from cafes, restaurants, and takeaway foods services, which rose 8.6% over the quarter and continued their post-lockdown resurgence.
Strong rises in sales volumes were also seen in clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing, up 3.9%, and department stores, up 3.0%.
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