(Updates with comment from economist in fourth paragraph.)
Dec. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Australian retail sales advanced less than economists forecast in October as consumers reduced spending at department stores.
Sales climbed 0.2 percent from a month earlier, when they rose 0.4 percent, the Bureau of Statistics said in Sydney today. The result was less than the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of 23 economists for a 0.4 percent gain.
Sales may accelerate into the holiday season after Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens on Nov. 1 lowered the nation’s benchmark interest rate for the first time in 31 months, reflecting slower inflation in the economy. Australian consumer sentiment rose in October and the jobless rate fell in the month for the first time since March.
“Although consumer sentiment has posted something of a recovery in recent months, we expect a flat result for retail sales given mixed anecdotes from retailers,” Felicity Emmett, a senior economist at RBS Group Australia Ltd. in Sydney, said in a research report before the release.
Spending on clothing and footwear rose 1.2 percent, and consumers spent 0.5 percent more on food retailing, today’s report showed. They spent 0.7 percent less at department stores, it showed.
--With assistance from Daniel Petrie in Sydney. Editor: Brendan Murray
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