Last week the ABS released the latest trade figures which showed a
slow retail industry.

For April the sector recorded an absolutely flat result of 0.0%
growth, seasonally adjusted. The trend estimate result for the month
was 0.3% growth.

This month may have appeared to be slower than otherwise expected due
to stifled activity across the Easter holidays, when regulations
concerning staff penalty rates really cut into stores opening hours.

Also, this period covered the lead up to the release of the Federal
Budget and some purchasing decisions are always delayed until the
Government has provided direction on issues of saving and spending.

At the start of the year our forecasts pointed to good growth in this
current quarter. That was revised down when fresh monthly data came in
covering March but we still forecast growth over 0.4% across the June
quarter.

Importantly, we forecast a pickup in subsequent quarters and the
positive impacts of the Federal Budget for households and small
business supports the case for accelerated retail growth in coming
months.

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