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December Retail Sales Slightly Up

“Overall Australian retail sales rebounded in December as retailers reduced prices to attract Christmas shoppers and hot weather induced spending on air conditioning Units. The Australia Bureau of Statistics said Retail sales rose 0.4% from November, when they fell 0.1%. Retail sales in the three months ended Dec. 31 adjusted to remove inflation, gained 0.3% from the previous three months. In a mixed bag, Australian retail spending on household goods gained 1.8% in December from November as sales at supermarkets rose 0.3%. Sales at clothing stores dropped 1.3% and sales at department stores fell 0.8%. The economy, in its 15th year of expansion, grew just 0.2 percent in the third quarter of 2005. The states with the largest increase were the Northern Territory (up 2.2%), South Australia and Tasmania (both up 0.7%) and Queensland (up 0.6%). Electronics retailers Retravision and Harvey Norman confirmed demand for air conditioners increased because of record temperatures in December and had boosted their sales. Harvey Norman, increased second-quarter sales 10.7% to A$1.24B”

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