Rates on hold but re­tail sales go nowhere

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

SHOP­PERS stayed away from depart­ment stores in droves in July, leav­ing an­nual re­tail sales grow­ing at their slow­est rate in half a cen­tury, but the elec­tion of­fers hope of a turn­around, a lead­ing econ­o­mist claims. As the Re­serve Bank kept of­fi­cial in­ter­est rates on hold at their record low on Tues­day, it emerged that re­tail spend­ing grew by only 0.1 per cent over the month to July, to $21.82 bil­lion, only a quar­ter the pace ex­pected, thanks to a near 8 per cent plunge in spend­ing at depart­ment stores, and leav­ing an­nual growth at 50-year lows for the sec­ond month in a row.

Com­msec chief econ­o­mist Craig James said his ‘‘over­whelm­ing feed- back is that Aus­tralian house­holds and busi­nesses are wait­ing for the elec­tion to be done and dusted so peo­ple can get on with life; not too much is likely to change across the econ­omy un­til af­ter the elec­tion’’.

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