Australia Retail Sales to Rise From Two-Decade Low, Access Says

Australian retail sales will rebound from a 20-year low next fiscal year as resource-fueled hiring and wage growth outpace higher household savings, according to a Deloitte Access Economics report.

Retail sales will advance 1.3 percent in the 12 months ending June 30, the worst fiscal-year result in two decades, the Canberra-based research company said in a report today. Sales will gain 2.2 percent in 2011-12 and 3.3 percent in 2012-13 as the household savings rate levels out, it said.

Australia’s “economic strength will help support a robust rate of jobs growth,” said David Rumbens, an analyst at Access. “Dividends from the resources boom may be difficult to separately identify for most retailers, but they will be supporting a range of broad economic indicators, such as jobs, wage growth, profits and government revenues.”

Australian retail sales surged in April by the most in 17 months as the economy recovered from its worst quarterly contraction in two decades. Woolworths Ltd., the nation’s biggest retailer, said in April that third-quarter sales rose 5.1 percent on higher demand at its supermarkets.

Australian employers probably added 25,000 workers last month and the jobless rate held at 4.9 percent, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of 25 economists ahead of a June 9 employment report.

Resource and energy companies have boosted hiring to meet demand from China in what the Australian government calls the nation’s biggest mining boom.

Retail sales, adjusted to remove inflation, stagnated in the three months through March 31 from the previous quarter, a report showed last month. Australia’s household savings ratio climbed to 11.5 percent in the three months through March, the highest since 2009.

“Retail sales are weak at present, but it’s not all necessarily bad news looking forward,” Rumbens said. “Australia is, after all, in the midst of an unprecedented resources boom.”